Local Dem chairman fires Trump zinger
Last updated 9/2/2020 at 8:51pm
Orange Mayor Larry Spears Jr. wasn't the only elected official in the county that didn't get a visit with President Donald Trump Saturday afternoon.
Orange County Democratic Party Chairman Jack Smith didn't make it out to the President's private meeting with local and state leaders held at the Orange County Convention and Expo Center to review local damage from Hurricane Laura.
Unlike Spears, who tested positive for COVID-19 on a rapid test given by the President's advance team earlier Saturday and was sent home to quarantine, Smith was not invited.
But neither were the hundreds of Trump supporters who lined the roadways from Orange County Airport, where the President landed, and the Expo Center.
"I got my Trump flag and everything, and I was going out to Orange Airport to meet him, hoping I could shake his hand and stuff," Smith, an Orange attorney, said when asked his opinion on Saturday's doings.
"But it didn't quite work out and I'm very crushed over it. I really would have liked to have made it," he said, "but I had to rearrange my sock drawer."
The day was historic for Orange, County Republican Party Chairman David Covey noted. He said it was the first time in city history that the President of the United States and the Governor of Texas have ever come to town at the same time.
Smith is on record as being no fan of Trump.
He said nearly two years ago he decided to take on the quixotic -- meaning both idealistic and unrealistic -- task of turning 80% Republican-voting Orange County Democratic blue, because he was "so outraged at the conduct of [President] Trump and the far right wing of the Republican Party. It's time to step out and do something more than put a sign on your car."
Spears, who as a city official doesn't have to declare himself Republican or Democrat, apologized to citizens that he couldn't represent Orange with the President.
"I am sorry, I did not want to let you down. I am not going to lie, I'm a little bit embarrassed, he said.
Spears said he tested negative for COVID-19 Thursday when Gov. Greg Abbott led a contingent of state officials, including both U.S. Senators from Texas and two U.S. Representative, to Orange City Hall.
But that was not the case two days later. He said he will quarantine with his family, but seek a new COVID-19 test as soon as possible.
After the President left Orange Saturday afternoon, he made news again when it was discovered that a hot mic caught him offering some VIPs a special brand of disaster relief after he had wrapped up a tour and press conference about Hurricane Laura's damage in Lake Charles earlier in the day.
As an aide tried to pull Trump away, presumably to board Marine One for his trip to Orange, U.S. Senator John Kennedy (R-La.) walked up with a contingent of VIPs headed by Cameron Parish Sheriff Ron Johnson.
Trump signed autographs for them, telling Johnson, "Sell it tonight on E-bay. $10,000."
A quick search Sunday of E-bay did not show any Trump autographs going for that much. An autographed photo of him and Michael Jackson from the 1990s is on sale for about $500, the same price as an autographed photo of first lady Melania Trump kneeling on a bed in underwear and high heels.