Miami Young Republicans cheer on Trump speech

Chants of “USA” and “four more years” rang out during the Miami Young Republicans’ State of the Union watch party on Tuesday night, a show of support for President Donald Trump during his annual speech to Congress.

The party, which took place at Fritz and Franz Bierhaus in Coral Gables, was an opportunity for the group to rally Republicans to get involved in the 2020 election, said Tony Figueroa, the vice president of Miami Young Republicans. About 100 people showed up. 

“I think it’s important that a lot of people not only watch the State of the Union and get informed and hear different ideas, but they also come to do it in a sense of community,” Figueroa said.

The theme of Trump’s speech was “the great American comeback,”  with the low unemployment rate and newly signed trade deal with Mexico and Canada as the main talking points. Armando Ibarra, the president of Miami Young Republicans, said the speech was also an opportunity for Trump to talk about the fight for freedom, prosperity and combatting socialism.

The event kicked off with a prayer and excited chatter from attendees, but had a hiccup when the restaurant owner put CNN on the big screen over Fox. This caused outrage among some of the patrons, but Figueroa said as long as the speech was shown without interruption, it didn’t matter. 

“I mean they’re going to show the same thing as every other channel, so if it’s CNN, Fox, CBS, whatever the case, they’re going to show the same thing,” he said.

In addition to the cheers and chatter, the crowd also showed their support by wearing MAGA — Make American Great Again — hats. 

“I support my president. He’s the best one in our history,” said partygoer Fermin Vazquez.

During his speech, Trump acknowledged Venezuela’s struggle for democracy and invited the leader of the opposition movement, Juan Guaidó, to attend the speech. Ibarra said the moment was special for South Floridians.

“I expect him to talk about the fight for freedom in Latin America and standing with the Venezuelan people, to handle the dictatorship and to restore freedom and democracy for Venezuelan people,” he said. “For a lot of people in South Florida, that’s a very important message he’s going to be sending.”

Although Trump’s speech generated ire from Democrats in Congress and on Twitter, with “you lie” tweeted over 100,000 times in reference to various statements the president made, the attendees of the Miami Young Republicans party didn’t hold back their praise.

“We’re excited, we’re having fun, we’re looking forward to working together to reelect the president. People here feel and know that the president has delivered on his promises,” said Ibarra.

Originally from Auckland, New Zealand, Imogen Francis now studies journalism at Florida International University. She was a staff news writer at the student newspaper PantherNow and has experience writing about the LGBTQ community, women's rights and politics.