When US President Donald Trump visits Palm Beach, this loyal coterie of superfans tries to be there to greet him each time he travels to or from his Mar-a-Lago Club. They’re connected by a fanaticism for the president – and by their willingness to show up whenever they hear that his motorcade will cross the Southern Boulevard Bridge in the US state of Florida.
“I thought I was going to faint,” said Portia Dumond, a first-timer and one of the superfans, almost in tears Saturday afternoon after Trump slowed down and smiled through his window as he headed to Palm Beach International Airport.
“I thought she was too,” said Mary Jude Smith, a veteran Bridge Family member who held up her friend when she nearly collapsed. “I can’t believe how close he got this time.”
On the other side of the street, about a dozen protesters waved signs reading “Corruption” and “Impeach.” But on the side the president could see, it was all fans – about 60 of them, including Smith and Dumond. They waved to Trump as he left Mar-a-Lago after a trip of less than 24 hours to his Winter White House, during which he spoke to about 200 Republican National Committee donors at Mar-a-Lago and visited the golf course.
Smith brought a poster from a Trump rally nearly two years ago. It’s weatherworn – she, like others in the group, will stand in the rain to greet the president, if that’s what it takes – and bound with clear packing tape where it’s about to fall apart.
“It’s very precious to me,” Smith said.
Bridge Family member Paula Magnuson can relate. She once plucked an empty plastic water bottle from the causeway to recycle it but stopped just in time.
“It was Trump water,” said Magnuson. “That bottle has his name on it. I rinsed it out and put it in my cabinet. I’m not going to throw something like that away.”