WASHINGTON — Gov. Rick Scott‘s “Florida Sunshine Ball” drew hundreds of Donald Trump supporters Wednesday night — plus at least two Democrats who say they were there to honor Florida rather than the part-time Palm Beach resident who’s about to become America’s 45th president.
The Beach Boys performed and attendees spotted by PostOnPolitics included a tuxedo-clad Scott and wife Ann Scott, at least two U.S. House members (Reps. Tom Rooney and Matt Gaetz), state Senate President Joe Negron of Stuart, lobbyist and big-time GOP fundraiser Brian Ballard, Republican Party of Florida Chairman Blaise Ingoglia and former RPOF Chairman Al Cardenas.
Sen. Marco Rubio and former New York Mayor (and part-time Palm Beacher) Rudy Giuliani were also there, a Scott spokeswoman said.
When Trump is sworn in on Friday, Republicans will control the White House and both chambers of Congress.
“We have the biggest opportunity in the world,” said Rooney. “This is like catching a unicorn for Republicans and we just cannot screw it up and we’ve got to make sure that we’re working together because we can really do some good things.”
Also spotted at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium: State Rep. Joseph Abruzzo, D-Boynton Beach, and former Democratic state Sen. Maria Sachs.
“This is the Florida Sunshine Ball to honor Florida and all the hard-working men and women of our state,” said Abruzzo. “I’m here to spend time with some of our leadership and, at the end of the day, being a true Democrat, it’s important to our district. Hopefully I’ll get to meet some incoming secretaries like the secretary of Veterans Affairs, secretary of Agriculture, secretary of the Interior and definitely the director of FEMA.”
Abruzzo added: “I campaigned against Donald Trump, but today’s not about Donald Trump. It’s about Florida and making sure we have the connections and resources to help our constituents.”
Sachs is married to attorney Peter Sachs, a Republican who has gamely attended some of her Democratic events.
“I’m not at the inaugural,” Maria Sachs said. “I’m at the Sunshine State Ball, which is an honor, because we are celebrating Florida…I’m honored to be here with my Republican husband.”
Sarasota County Republican Committeeman Christian Ziegler said he believes Trump won’t lose his outsider sensibilities once he’s in office.
“When you look at Donald Trump, the guy has been pretty clear that he’s going to spend a lot of time outside of Washington, D.C.,” Ziegler said. “He’s not dependent on a check from a lobbyist, he’s not dependent on the system for power. The guy truly has the power of the American people behind him.