As the world waited to see if former President Donald Trump would be impeached in New York, some of his staunchest supporters took up position near his Palm Beach base of operations.
A few dozen Trump supporters gathered on the Southern Boulevard bridge near his Mar-a-Lago resort and residence on Tuesday, waving Trump flags, blasting country music from speakers and talking to reporters. . Passersby honked their horns and waved, while others took pictures.
Some said they were not there to protest, but to show their support for Trump.
“I don’t protest, I support Trump,” said Nancy Sparks, 83, of Lake Worth.
Sparks said she was surprised by the turnout. “I thought there would be more people here,” Sparks said.
Evelyn Knapp, 75, said it wasn’t bad for a day’s work. “People are working,” she said. “I’m surprised that so many people have come.”
His reason for attending: “You have to support President Trump.”
Some protesters told WPEC and WPLG-Ch. 10 who had spent the night at the rally point to show their support for Trump.
In notices issued Monday, the City of Palm Beach warned People expected traffic congestion near the roundabout at Bath & Tennis Court from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, telling drivers to find an alternative route. That place is immediately south of Mar-a-Lago.
Trump’s plane, with his name emblazoned on the side, was at Palm Beach International Airport at noon Tuesday, suggesting it was still in South Florida. Meanwhile, Trump launched a campaign video on Tuesday in which he vowed to “dismantle the deep state and take back our democracy from the corruption of Washington once and for all” if he is elected president in 2024.
The prospect of a large demonstration was encouraged by Trump, who wrote on social media Saturday that he expected to be arrested Tuesday and called on his supporters to protest.
A Manhattan grand jury has been investigating hush money payments to women who alleged sexual encounters with Trump.
“IS THE TIME!!!” Trump wrote on his Truth Social social media feed. “WE CAN NO LONGER ALLOW THIS. THEY ARE KILLING OUR NATION WHILE WE SIT AND WATCH. WE MUST SAVE AMERICA! PROTEST, PROTEST, PROTEST!!!”
In another postSpeaking of himself, Trump wrote: “THE LEADING FAR & AWAY REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE AND FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA WILL BE ARRESTED TUESDAY NEXT WEEK. PROTEST, TAKE BACK OUR NATION!”
One of Trump’s oldest and most loyal supporters, Roger Stone of Fort Lauderdale, cautioned Trump supporters who are inclined to protest on the former president’s behalf in case of arrest.
“It is vitally important that you keep it peaceful, keep it civil, keep it orderly and keep it legal. The left would like to trick us into overreacting, violently and lawlessly so they can pin the blame on President Trump, and so they can pick up the leaders of America First,” Stone said Monday night in a press release. Online video “Prayers for Trump” presentation. “I cannot stress enough that we must keep our activities peaceful, respectful, orderly and civil,” Stone said.
“They would love to ensnare, seduce or incite American patriots to violence or some other inappropriate act so they can pin the blame on President Trump…Don’t take the bait folks,” Stone said.
Stone has known Trump for decades, and for much of the 2016 campaign, Stone was an informal adviser to Trump. In 2019, Stone was convicted of seven counts of lying to Congress, witness tampering and obstructing a US House investigation into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign.
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Trump pardoned Stone just before leaving the office. Speaking at the call to prayer Monday night, just after Stone and former General Michael Flynn spoke, Trump said he was “very honored to give them a full pardon because the government treated them horribly, these crazy radicals from left”.
The former president added that it was difficult to call the presentation. “The phones weren’t working very well a while ago. But I think it was probably that radical left that did something to them, and that’s okay because we’re going to beat them and we’re going to beat them every time.”
It’s unclear whether Trump supporters would heed his call to protest or whether he retains the same persuasive power he had as president. Trump’s posts on Truth Social generally get far less attention than he used to get on Twitter, but he maintains a deeply loyal base. The aftermath of the January 6 riots, in which hundreds of Trump loyalists were arrested and prosecuted in federal court.
Trump, 76, is running for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. An impeachment and the reaction of his supporters and other voters could change the course of the campaign.
The New York grand jury appeared to take an important step forward hearing Monday from a pro-Trump witnesspresumably so that prosecutors could ensure that the panel had an opportunity to consider any testimony that could be remotely viewed as exculpatory.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
This is a developing story, so check back for updates. Click here to receive breaking news alerts directly to your inbox.