PALM BEACH — Three Palm Beach Police Department SUVs — two with lights flashing — were the only sign of law enforcement activity outside Mar-a-Lago’s closed gates Monday night as word spread that the FBI had served a search warrant at former President Donald Trump’s residence earlier in the day.
Roughly 100 people had gathered on the temporary Southern Boulevard Bridge that connects Palm Beach to the mainland around 10 p.m.
The protesters waved Trump and American flags as an eclectic mix of country music and disco blasted from a truck outfitted with loudspeakers and MAGA gear. Several people wore T-shirts with variations of the phrase “Let’s Go Brandon,” a lightly coded insult against President Joe Biden.
“It’s disgusting, it’s a witch hunt,” Trump supporter Jennifer Eady, who sported an oversized MAGA hat, said of the FBI raid. “The Democrats will do anything to stop him winning again.”
Eady’s preferred ticket for 2024? “Trump president, DeSantis vice president,” she said, referring to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Chuck Lynch of Delray Beach has driven by Mar-a-Lago many times. But he’s never stopped until today.
“Raiding the house of a former President?” Lynch said. “This will be a day remembered in history.”
A little earlier on nearby Kings Road, longtime resident Jo Campbell stood guard, making sure only her neighbors drove down the street as protesters sought parking wherever they could squeeze in their cars.
“I understand everyone has an opinion. All I’m asking for is courtesy,” Campbell said, while truck horns blared and the sound of “We’re Not Gonna Take It” played from a passing vehicle.
“I’ve met some seriously obnoxious people tonight,” said Campbell, who said she’s lived in the neighborhood for four decades, well predating Trump’s ownership of Mar-a-Lago. “There have been protests, but it’s definitely been more secure” since he became president, she added.
Not everyone who was part of the scene near Trump’s Florida home was a supporter of the former president. Celia Hennessy, 52, drove to Mar-a-Lago after hearing the news of the FBI search. She wanted to see history in the making, Hennessy told the Herald.
The other reason the Riviera Beach bus driver said she wanted to be there in person: “Hope.”
“I hope they are going to be held accountable for January 6th,” Hennessy said. Hennessy and a friend drove past the former president’s residence blasting, “We Are the Champions,” according to her Facebook post.
Miami Herald staff writer Sarah Blaskey contributed to this report.