Thousands fill Amway Center, nearly $25M raised as Trump launches reelection campaign

ORLANDO, Fla. — Thousands of people filled Parramore's Amway Center on Tuesday evening to watch President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence formally announce their 2020 reelection bid.

The 20,000-seat venue, which sits near Interstate 4, is in the heart of the coveted I-4 Corridor, a political region with a large number of undecided voters who have a history of determining who wins the presidency.

Winning the swing state of Florida is crucial to Trump holding onto the White House.


The campaign got off to a strong fundraising start pulling in nearly $25 million in less than 24 hours amid his election launch in Orlando.

Introduced by Pence, Trump made sure to appeal to the thousands of supporters in attendance.

"We did not really transfer power to one party to another, but we transferred power to the citizens of the Untied States of America," Trump said of his winning in the 2016 election. "Nobody has done what we have done in two and a half years."

The president also took time out of his speech to speak out against the Russia probe.

"They spent $40 million on this witch hunt," the president said of the investigation into his possible ties with Russia.

At one point, Trump deferred to the crowd to determine his primary slogan between "Make America Great Again" and "Keep America Great." The crowd seemingly chose the latter with an overwhelming roar of applause.

The rally saw Trump touch on a variety of topics, ranging from Hillary Clinton's emails to how he feels Obamacare "failed" the people of America.

The president was sure to point out some of the high-profile faces in attendance, including Gov. Ron DeSantis, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and received a final endorsement from Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who will be stepping down from her role as the White House press secretary on June 30.

President Calvin Coolidge in 1924 was the last Republican to win the presidency without winning the Sunshine State -- long before Florida was the third-most populous state with 29 electoral votes.

Kimulita Mann, who traveled to Orlando from Houston, was among the supporters eager to hear Trump speak.

WATCH LIVE: Thousands brave thunderstorm to hear Trump speak

WATCH LIVE: Thousands are braving a thunderstorm outside the Amway Center, where President Donald J. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence will announce their reelection bid tonight. Read:

Posted by WFTV Channel 9 on Tuesday, June 18, 2019

"(I want to get) as close as I can get, sir. I want to be eyeballs to the man. That's my man -- Trump," she said. "I want to support my president and my country -- where we stand and the vision of this country. I'm a big Trump supporter."

U.S. Rep. Darren Soto, D-Fla., said many members of Central Florida's Hispanic community oppose Trump's strict immigration policies, how he has handled the situation in Venezuela and his response to Puerto Rico, which was ravaged by Hurricane Maria in 2017.

"Without question, he's been weaponizing immigration to divide the American people," he said. "We are a diverse community that rejects the divisive politics of President Trump. Obviously, it's hurtful. And it's going to get an equal and opposite reaction."

Watch Air Force One arrive at Orlando International Airport below:

Soto said several Hispanic groups held a rally in opposition to Trump at West Church Street and Glenn Lane.

Air Force One landed at Orlando International Airport shortly before 6:30 p.m.

Channel 9 has the only Central Florida news crew that has been granted access to Trump alongside national news media.

Watch Trump's full speech below:

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