Armed Men Outside Florida Polling Place Claim They Were Hired By Trump Campaign
Two men dressed as armed security guards who stationed a tent outside a polling place in St. Petersburg, Florida, claimed they were with the Trump campaign, though the campaign denies having hired them or directing their activities.
- Local news channel WFLA News Channel 8 reported that Thea McDonald, Deputy National Press Secretary for the Trump campaign, rejected the notion that the men were involved with the campaign, saying: “The Campaign did not hire these individuals nor did the Campaign direct them to go to the voting location.”
- Julie Marcus, Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections, told the news station that the men placed a tent outside an early voting site on Wednesday, claiming they were with the Trump campaign.
“The Sheriff [Bob Gualtieri] told me the persons that were dressed in these security uniforms had indicated to sheriff’s deputies that they belonged to a licensed security company and they indicated—and this has not been confirmed yet—that they were hired by the Trump campaign,” said Marcus in a video interview with 8 On Your Side’s Chip Osowski Wednesday night.
“The sheriff and I take this very seriously,” Marcus said. “Voter intimidation, deterring voters from voting, impeding a voter’s ability to cast a ballot in this election is unacceptable and will not be tolerated in any way shape, or form. So we anticipated many things going into this election. Not only cybersecurity, but physical security and we had a plan in place and executed that plan.”
- Gualtier said he is working with Marcus to ensure that voters are safe at polling places, telling 8 On Your Side:
“I just don’t want to get too deep into the specifics because we’re trying to balance it. But I’ll say it’s a combination of uniformed personnel who will be in the area and also we’re gonna use some undercover personnel just to monitor the situation.”
- The report noted that President Donald Trump encouraged his supporters to stand watch at polling places during the first presidential debate last month, saying:
“I’m urging my supporters to go into the polls and watch very carefully. Because that’s what has to happen. I am urging them to do it.”