Andrew Thompson and Salvatore Ambrosino
Frostproof, Fla., a small rural community in southern Polk County, has officially declared the first week of February as Donald J. Trump week.
This decision has drawn both support and outcry from members of the local community. The resolution has been championed by Jon Albert, the mayor of the city.
Support for Trump remains significant in the region as displayed by the proclamation. Mayor Albert cited this support and Trump’s record on manufacturing jobs as the reason for celebrating this holiday.
The proclamation also cites the creation of more than 9,000 new opportunity zones and “no new wars” under Trump’s presidency, the document reads, as for the reasoning for the holiday.
“Former president Donald J. Trump was overwhelmingly supported by our community,” Albert said.
Members of the local Republican party and some residents of the community have expressed support for Trump’s holiday.
Opposition to the holiday stems from Democrats who staged a protest on Feb. 5.
The protesters, who occupied the outside of Frostproof’s City Hall, were most offended by the holiday occurring during Black History Month.
“The Republican Party is declaring this holiday as a PR stunt,” Catherine Price, chair of the Polk Democratic Party said.
Price discussed how roughly five to six Democratic Executive Committee members attended the local protest and recognized that the issue is deeper than it appears.
“To the local community, the holiday reflects the racist attitudes in the Frostproof area,” Price said. “As demonstrated by the lack of access to resources like fire hydrants for people of color.”
Stressing the duty of local Democrats, Price insisted on the importance of combating hyper-local issues.
Although many of the opponents are angered that the holiday falls throughout the first week of Black History Month, a fact mayor Albert claims to have not known.
“I don’t think it’s fair that it’s turned into a race issue. I don’t think there was any ill intent on behalf of the City Council,” President of the Republican Club of Lakeland James Ring said.
Florida House of Representatives member Anthony Sabitini spoke in favour of the proclamation at the meeting at which the holiday was declared, celebrating because the city was “the first in the nation to do this.”
“Great to be in the city of Frostproof FL tonight to speak in favor of a proclamation declaring this week ‘Donald Trump Week,” Sabitini said in a tweet on Feb. 1.
Although Florida voted for Barack Obama twice, Trump was able to defy expectations by flipping the state in 2016 and holding it again in 2020.
Trump’s main strengths came from rural regions like Frostproof, which he carried by around 76 percent of the vote in 2020.
With a population of over 3,000 residents in 2019 and a poverty rate of 23 percent, the city is a working-class community empowered by the industries of agriculture, forestry and hunting.
Moreover, white Americans account for 78 percent of the total population.