With 21 days left until the midterm elections, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi joined Donna Shalala and Debbie Mucarsel-Powell for a campaign event in October 2018 as pro-Trump demonstrators protested her visit in Coral Gables.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is coming to South Florida — nearly a year after her visit triggered a raucous protest that made national headlines.

Pelosi, whose Democratic caucus is in the midst of a burgeoning impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, is making a swing Thursday through Weston and Miami. Trump, coincidentally or not, will be just a few hundred miles away in The Villages in Central Florida.

Pelosi is heading first to Weston, where she’ll meet with Democratic members of Congress and Venezuelan Ambassador Carlos Vecchio. From there, she’ll head to Miami for a roundtable on Haiti.

Pelosi’s office did not respond to a request for comment. Her visit — which was spurring plans for protests even before it was made public — was announced Tuesday by U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston.

Pelosi’s visit is a nod to the importance of South Florida’s international community.

She supports efforts to oust Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and backed the Trump administration’s decision to recognize Juan Guaidó as Venezuela’s legitimate leader. She has frequently met with Carlos Vecchio, Guaidó’s U.S. ambassador.

“We cannot champion Venezuelans in Venezuela, then ignore them here,” said Wasserman Schultz, among the South Florida Democrats who have pushed the Trump administration to grant Temporary Protected Status, or TPS, to Venezuelans in the U.S.

Haiti, like Venezuela, is enduring political turmoil, a concern for thousands of Haitians who remain legally in the United States under the TPS program. Pelosi’s event in Miami was organized by Miami Rep. Frederica Wilson, according to Miami-Dade Commissioner Jean Monestime, who plans to attend.

Pelosi’s visit is already drawing the attention of political opponents.

Republicans are planning a “rally against Democratic Socialism” in Weston at the Bonaventure Town Center Club. Janet Klomburg, a Weston Republican who created a Facebook page advertising the event, told the Miami Herald that 88 people have confirmed plans to attend an evening rally.

Pro-Trump demonstrators gathered Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018, outside a GOTV canvass launch in Coral Gables in protest against House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Donna Shalala, and Debbie Mucarsel-Powell and a planned appearance from California lawmaker Barbara Lee, who has drawn scorn from the Cuban-American community for her support of the island nation’s late dictator Fidel Castro.

“This was a backdoor secret meeting that wasn’t even supposed to get out,” said Klomburg, who according to the New Times Broward-Palm Beach was recently accused of harassing people who sought help with citizenship applications at the Lauderhill Mall. “I have inside sources at the Bonaventure Town Center. I won’t reveal their names, but they’re high up.” Continue reading

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