Anthony Man | South Florida Sun Sentinel
As the world waits to see if former President Donald Trump’s will be indicted in New York, some of his most die-hard supporters have stationed themselves near his home base in Palm Beach.
Pictures and video posted on social media showed some Trump supporters near his Mar-a-Lago resort and residence Tuesday morning. There were several large pro-Trump flags, and many more smaller Trump flags and American flags, according to video posted on Twitter by a WPEC-Ch. 12 and WPTV-Ch. 5 journalists.
Some demonstrators told WPEC and WPLG-Ch. 10 that they had spent the night at the gathering point to show their support for Trump.
In notices issued Monday, the Town of Palm Beach warned people to expect traffic congestion near the traffic circle at the Bath & Tennis Court from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, and told drivers to seek an alternate route. That spot 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 he was still in South Florida.
The prospect of a large demonstration was stoked by Trump, who wrote Saturday on social media that he expected to be arrested on 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.
“IT’S TIME!!!” Trump wrote on his Truth Social social media feed. “WE JUST CAN’T ALLOW THIS ANYMORE. THEY’RE KILLING OUR NATION AS WE SIT BACK & WATCH. WE MUST SAVE AMERICA!PROTEST, PROTEST, PROTEST!!!”
In another post, speaking about himself, Trump wrote: “THE FAR & AWAY LEADING REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE & FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, WILL BE ARRESTED ON TUESDAY OF NEXT WEEK. PROTEST, TAKE OUR NATION BACK!”
One of Trump’s longest and most loyal supporters, Roger Stone of Fort Lauderdale, advised caution on the part of Trump supporters who are inclined to protest on behalf of the former president in the event of any arrest.
“It is vitally important that you keep it peaceful, you keep it civil, you keep it orderly and you keep it legal. The left would like to trick us into overreaction and violence and lawlessness so they can blame President Trump, and so they can scoop up America First leaders,” Stone said Monday night in an online “Prayers for Trump” video presentation. “I cannot stress that enough that we must keep our activities peaceful, respectful orderly and civil,” Stone said.
“They would love to entrap or entice or goad American patriots into violence or some other inappropriate act so that they can blame President Trump…. Do not 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 on seven counts of lying to Congress, witness tampering and obstructing the U.S. House investigation into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia’s meddling in the 2016 campaign.
Trump pardoned him just before leaving office. Speaking on the prayer call Monday night right after Stone and former Gen. Michael Flynn spoke, Trump said he was “very honored to give them full pardons because they were treated horribly by government, these radical left lunatics.”
The former president added it was difficult to call in to the presentation. “The phones weren’t working too well just a little while ago. But I think probably it was that radical left that did something with them, and that’s OK because we’re going to beat ‘em and we’re goign to beat ‘em all the time.”
It is unclear whether Trump’s supporters would heed his protest call or if he retains the same persuasive power he held as president. Trump’s posts on Truth Social generally receive far less attention than he used to get on Twitter, but he maintains a deeply loyal base. The aftermath of the Jan. 6 riot, in which hundreds of Trump loyalists were arrested and prosecuted in federal court, may also have dampened the passion among supporters for confrontation.
Trump, 76, is running for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. An indictment, and the reaction of his supporters and other voters, could change the trajectory of the campaign.
Trump’s representatives later said he was citing media reports and leaks. There was no indication that prediction would come true, though.
The New York grand jury appeared to take an important step forward by hearing Monday from a witness favorable to Trump, presumably so prosecutors could ensure the panel had a chance to consider any testimony that could be remotely seen as exculpatory.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report. This is a developing story, so check back for updates.
Source: Orange County Register
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