'Villages-News' On President Trump Retweeting Video Of A Man Yelling 'White Power'

Jun 30, 2020
Originally published on June 30, 2020 2:39 pm
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MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Let's talk now about that video that President Trump retweeted over the weekend - a video that showed a man yelling white power during a rally in Florida.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PEOPLE: (Unintelligible).

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: Trump. Trump. Trump. Trump. Trump. Trump. Trump. Trump.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: White power. White power.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #3: There you go. White power.

KELLY: The White House has since deleted the post and claimed the president had not heard what the man was shouting. The video was filmed two weeks ago, June 14. It was shot for and published on villages-news.com. That's an independent news site that covers the sprawling community of homes and golf courses known as The Villages in central Florida. Meta Minton is the editor of Villages-News.

Meta Minton, welcome back to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED.

META MINTON: Thanks for having me.

KELLY: Where were you - how did you first learn that the president of the United States had tweeted out your video?

KELLY: It was Sunday morning. And I was on a 40-mile bicycle ride on the beautiful Withlacoochee Trail here in central Florida. And it was early morning, and the calls and texts just started exploding on my phone. I'm out in the middle of nowhere. And it took me a couple minutes because the video was two weeks old, and it was hard to figure out the context because, like I said, I was in the middle of nowhere.

KELLY: Well, what has been the reaction? There has been controversy - all kinds of controversy starting Sunday morning. How have residents there in The Villages reacted?

MINTON: Well, it's interesting because the rally was more than two weeks ago. We published the video, and it was no big deal here. But seeing the same video on national news, people are in an uproar. Many are highly embarrassed here because these are hard, proud-working - proud, hardworking people who are grandparents. And the image that is going out into the country, into the world of their hometown is just appalling to them.

KELLY: I should note that the full video captures people, including the man who said white power, a lot of people wearing Trump T-shirts and carrying Trump - pro-Trump signs, also protesters who were out protesting against that parade of - it was golf carts going by. Does the community on balance tend to lean pro-Trump?

MINTON: Oh, this is Trump country, no doubt. You see a Trump sign on every third or fourth golf cart that's around this community. But for the world to see that white power chant on national media, it just - that's what tipped everything. We can accept that, you know, within the community, I guess. But for the world to see it, it was just - it took it to a different level.

KELLY: It sounds like you're describing that people were embarrassed by this, that people there may support the president, they may be conservative, they are not supporting somebody yelling white power.

MINTON: Correct. And for us, the reaction has been incredible because we're getting so much feedback from readers, and they're upset. I was just on the phone with a reader who was very upset about it and said, we should never have published the video. Well, it's just an indication of what was going on. What - how it's interpreted or how people feel about it, that's out of our control.

KELLY: One other thing to ask you about. When you and I spoke before, it was about the coronavirus. This was back at the start of April, and you told me a lot of people in The Villages were not taking it that seriously. How is it going there?

MINTON: You know, it is - I likened it to a hurricane at the time. And a hurricane just comes at you slowly here in Florida, and you don't know what to do. A lot of people are very serious about social distancing. On the other hand, we have people who are very carelessly out at bars and hanging out and doing the things that they love to do and just seem to disregard the danger.

KELLY: All right, a little update there from The Villages from Meta Minton, editor of Villages-News there in Florida.

Thanks so much.

MINTON: Thank you.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.