Curry, Rutherford, Duval GOP Slam Democrats, DNC, Align Support For Trump

Aug 20, 2020

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry and Northeast Florida U.S. Representative John Rutherford both attended a “MAGA Meet-up” at the Duval GOP Headquarters Thursday morning, where they affirmed their support for President Donald Trump this November and attacked Democrats and the recently held Democratic National Convention. 

MAGA is the acronym for the Trump campaign’s “Make America Great Again” slogan.

“You could be excused for having missed what is passing for the Democratic National Convention, because really, it was a webinar,” said Duval GOP Chair Dean Black to open the meet-up. “Actually, it was more like an infomercial.”

Related: Live Coverage Of Democratic National Convention

Curry spoke about the need to keep Trump in office to maintain economic progress.

“This demonstrates his commitment to the economy that he built before we experienced COVID-19, and the economy that he's rebuilding with his policies and his commitment,” Curry said.

The mayor also hammered on a point that he’s mentioned through many of his media briefings throughout the pandemic. 

Related: 2020 Election Local, State And National News

“You look at the left's solution, [it] is permanent lockdowns that destroy our economy, that destroy people's health in so many other ways, even beyond COVID-19,” Curry said. “So we've got to do everything that we can to ensure that people turn out to vote.” 

The August 18 primary showed a higher turnout for Democrats than Republicans in Duval County by nearly 15,000 thousand votes, but Curry said he doesn’t foresee that happening again in November.

Primary Returns: Baker | Clay | Duval | Flagler | Nassau | Putnam | St. Johns | U.S. House | State

“You didn't really have any competitive Republican primaries happening,” Curry said. “There were no big races where you had real, serious primary contenders. So that you need that for energy and excitement and turnout.”

Meanwhile, Rep. Rutherford lambasted the presidential and vice presidential nominees, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, saying none of the DNC has been spent talking about substantial policy changes. 

“They don't talk about policy because they may be good people, but they're bad policy,” Rutherford said.

Rutherford said voting for Biden would be a direct attack on First and Second Amendment rights, while supporting defunding the police and large tax increases. 

“What they don’t talk about is Joe Biden has already committed to raising taxes $4 trillion. That will impact 82% of hard-working, taxpaying Americans,” Rutherford said.

According to a study from the Tax Policy Center, a non-partisan public policy organization, Biden’s plan would substantially increase taxes for those earning over $400,000 per year. His plan would also repeal the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. which was championed by Republican lawmakers and the Trump administration, once again for those earning over $400,000.  

Rutherford is up for reelection in November, where he will face Democrat Donna Deegan after handily winning the primary with 80.2% of the vote against Republican challenger Erick Aguilar, who had 19.8%.

“You can encourage all of this defunding of the police with a Democrat vote, and you can vote for a tax increase. It will destroy the economy that we have built,” Rutherford said.  “That's the binary choice that people have between my race, and my opponent.” 

Related: Donna Deegan Announces Her Candidacy

Rutherford also touched on Confederate monuments and markers, which he believes should be up to local citizens to decide with a referendum.

“Whether they stay or go, I don't think one person should do it. I don't think one council should do it,” Rutherford said.

It’s one topic Rutherford and Curry differ on, after Curry decided that all Confederate monuments and markers would be coming down. 

“I made a decision, I stand by my decision, and I’m moving on,” Curry said. 

Sky Lebron can be reached at slebron@wjct.org, 904-358-6319 or on Twitter at @SkylerLebron.