ORLANDO – Greg Madden didn't want to watch Donald Trump announce his 2020 re-election bid from his home TV or on a jumbotron.
Instead, the Stuart man said he arrived in Orlando at 9 p.m. Sunday to secure a front-row seat for Tuesday, when the president plans to announce inside Amway Center that he's running for re-election in 2020.
"I wanted to come here and see the president and make history," Madden, 39, said just outside a tent he pitched on a sidewalk along South Division Avenue just north of the arena where 20,000 are expected to fill it.
Madden joined 60 others sitting in lawn and fold-up chairs to assure good seats when Trump is scheduled to speak after the rally begins at 8 p.m. Tuesday.
The National Weather Service in Melbourne was calling for afternoon high temperatures in the upper 80s in Orlando Tuesday, with humidity pushing the heat index past 90 degrees.
What’s more, there was a 60% chance of thunderstorms Tuesday afternoon. The National Weather Service warned the storms could bring heavy rain, gusty winds and dangerous cloud-to-ground lightning.
Supporters who arrived early waited beneath cloudy skies and endured typical Central Florida humidity. Many like Madden were prepared for rain with tents, umbrellas and pop-up coverings often found at football tailgates.
Madden drove from the east coast Florida city with his wife Ashtin, 25, after he heard the president say Friday morning on "Fox & Friends" that there were more than 100,000 requests to attend the Tuesday event for the 20,000 spots.
"He loves America," Madden said.
"He's the first president in my lifetime who does the right thing by the American people. My stepdad sent me a photo of Donald Trump hugging the American flag and that sums up Donald Trump.
"He's restored my faith in humanity.