President Trump's visit to the area came at a critical juncture -- with Florida lawmakers requesting additional aid for their constituents leading up to the rally. While the president serenaded his firebrand base with his usual Trump speech, his primary objective at the May 8 rally was to deliver for the people in the Panhandle.
The president's announcement came just days after he met with two of his most trusted allies -- U.S. Representative Matt Gaetz and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. The dynamic duo met with President Trump two days prior to the rally, discussing a host of issues that included cutting healthcare costs in the Florida, and providing additional relief to the war-torn area of the Panhandle.
While Republicans this session worked hard to pump more relief dollars into Panama City and other locations impacted by the storm, the $2 billion that was budgeted towards Hurricane Michael relief and recovery was still not enough.
Together, DeSantis and Gaetz proved to be the catalyst that Florida needed, and their meeting with Trump -- which Gaetz called "very productive" -- was instrumental in helping Northwest Florida get the help they so desperately needed.
Following their meeting, DeSantis and Gaetz attended the rally -- along with a host of other conservative supporters -- interacting and presenting good news to Floridians who are still trying to rebuild their lives after much was taken from them by the October hurricane.
While some lawmakers in the state attended the event for a photo op or a chance to be seen with President Trump, many Republican legislators came to hear from constituents and everyday people who continue to persevere months after Hurricane Michael turned their lives upside down.
U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz was one of the leaders that day, and his compassion was evident by his interaction with one special boy.
The above photo was taken by Anthony Stephens, a military veteran and Trump supporter who was on the ground in 2016 helping turn Florida red.. The picture shows Gaetz taking the time to talk with a fervent Trump supporter prior to the rally.
"It was just a joy to watch Matt Gaetz, with all that was around him, take the time out to spend ten minutes with the child," Stephens told The Florida Report. "I mean President Trump was their, as well as numerous state officials and lawmakers, and here is Gaetz down on the ground with this kid. You could watch the child after Gaetz left him, and his family, beaming with excitement. That young man will remember that event for a lifetime"
The photo was an unplanned moment that shows a side of Gaetz that many in the media refuse to show. The superstar Florida lawmaker is known throughout many circles as a no-nonsense Trump supporter who is unapologetic when it comes to speaking his mind. His approach, however, gets taken out of context by many media personalities and so-called "journalists."
On camera, Gaetz is a policy-driven conservative with an attitude that is beloved by Middle America. Unfortunately, writers and reporters are out of touch with the heartbeat that fuels America, and they see his point of view as part of a vitriolic attempt to promote a "far-right" agenda.
Unfortunately, it has become far too common for political reporters to go after Gaetz. More often than not, they try to discredit him by pointing to the skeleton's in his closet -- as if they don't have any. They'll also point to his rhetoric, claiming that he's divisive, insensitive, or even racist simply because he speaks his mind.
What the political left won't capture, however, is instances like the one above taken by a bystander. Moments that show that Gaetz cares. Moments that show that he's not the person that the media portrays him to me. Moments that show the authentic side of Matt Gaetz.