Solo Anti-Trump Protester Who Lives in Super-Conservative Florida Community Won't Let Threats Stop Him
McGinty hasn’t always been as vocal about his political beliefs as he is now.
Ed McGinty has no problem lounging on the side of the highway letting people know just how anti-Donald Trump he is. With signs that read things like, “Trump: bigot and racist” and “Biden will kick Trump’s a**,” the 72-year-old sits on the highway near his Florida retirement home six days a week. Sunday is the only day he takes a break.
“I have gotten death threats delivered in the mail,” McGinty told Inside Edition Digital. “I have received notes threatening me, my wife and dogs. There are a bunch of racist bigots, KKK and Nazis up here, believe me.”
McGinty hasn’t always been as vocal about his political beliefs as he is now. Before he moved to The Villages, a retirement home in Central Florida, in 2015, he worked in real estate in Philadelphia and didn’t think sharing his political beliefs was good for business. His experience at a retirement home with a large amount of Trump supporters has changed his outlook, though.
The retirement village, which houses 120,000 people, is in Sumter County, an area with 70% Trump supporters. The Black population in the retirement community is 0.3%.
During the election season in 2016, McGinty said he "read a few of Elizabeth Warren’s books," and purchased a hat in support of her. People in the neighborhood didn’t take to kindly to it, he noted.
“I was walking my two dogs in my neighborhood like I normally do, and there was this one man who always gave them a treat when I went by, and one day I went by with the hat on and he said ‘hey, you need to take that off, you can’t wear stuff like that down here,'” McGinty said. “He said he talked to some men in the neighborhood and he said ‘if you are going to continue to wear this anti-Trump stuff, you better keep up your health insurance.'”
McGinty said he took that as a threat.
“I said ‘you better jump me from behind because I am taking one of those gentlemen with me,'" he said. "That’s all it took for me to get me off my Irish behind.’”
That’s when McGinty decided to start riding around in his golf cart with an Elizabeth Warren sign. He also started his own league of Democratic golfers after the Republican golfers he was playing with began complaining about his beliefs. It wasn't long before he began sitting on the side of the highway with his signs.
McGinty said it’s there that he’s had a few encounters with belligerent Trump supporters. He’s had the cops called on him and has had run-ins with people who became violent. Yet, he still sits outside, book in hand, with his signs.
A golf cart is parked nearby in case he encounters trouble, he said, and in more recent times he has taken people to sit with him just in case. Some of those who have become violent at the sight of McGinty have tried to ram his golf cart, he said.
“My wife has been after me for three years to stop this because she’s afraid that I am going to get seriously hurt,” McGinty said.
Some people aren’t very fond of McGinty, calling him a “kook” and “troublemaker,” according to Philly Mag, and his stance has caused estrangement with some of his family.
“I have lost my relationship with; 2 daughters, 1 best friend, put a large strain on my marriage. Lost hundreds of friends. Although I regret all and more of these, I would do it all again. Trump must GO!” McGinty tweeted.
Many online, though, love McGinty, calling him a “true American Hero.”
One Twitter user wrote: “Dear Ed McGinty, at 72 years of age you really don’t need any advice, but I am sad for your losses, friends and friendships come and go, but your integrity is a lasting memory you could never lose.
"You have my deepest respect, stay strong."
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