Supporters of Donald Trump flocked to his Palm Beach, Florida resort to rally in protest of the FBI’s raid of his property earlier in the day after news of the investigation broke Monday night.
Videos and photos on Twitter showed supporters arriving at the resort and new home of the former president while tweets from his fans vowed that “thousands” planned to turn out.
Dozens of people were at the scene before midnight on Monday night, although the mood could hardly be described as angry. Loudspeakers blasted dance music as supporters arrived by car to the pitch-black stage where lights were quickly set up.
Some supporters may have heard the former president address his situation at a televised rally for Sarah Palin, which he attended despite the news.
“Another day in paradise. This was a strange day,” a chuckling Mr Trump reportedly told his fans.
His supporters who arrived late on Monday were unlikely to hear directly from the leader, but that didn’t stop the crowd from growing as midnight approached.
Some of those who took part in the protest told reporters that the investigation seemed political to them because the FBI had not yet taken action against Hunter Biden, the son of President Joe Biden, for criminal activities that Trump supporters have long alleged he engaged in overseas.
The Justice Department has yet to publicly comment on the unprecedented raid on a former president’s residence. Former President Donald Trump is believed to be under a grand jury investigation led by the agency in response to the Jan. 6 attack on Congress; the probe recently took testimony from Marc Short, a top aide to ex-Vice President Mike Pence.
But New York Times reported that the raid may have been related to a separate (but not entirely unrelated) question about whether Trump improperly took classified material with him after he left the White House in January 2021 and returned to his home in Florida.
Some of those close to Trump said so The times that the president was in possession of “many” pages of classified material, which could mean the president or members of his team could be held criminally responsible for their removal.
The president was reported earlier this year to have delayed returning more than a dozen boxes of such material to the National Archives until the threat of legal action was raised. It is unclear whether more boxes or materials were seized on Monday.
Supporters of the ex-president who gathered outside Mar-a-Lago were joined in spirit by Republican members of Congress, who tweeted their vocal disapproval after the news broke and even, in the case of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, vowed to launch congressional investigations of the Department of Justice in response.
The date of Monday’s raid has some historical significance: It is the anniversary of the resignation of Richard Nixon, the only president ever to leave office under such circumstances, when he faced impeachment over his involvement in a break-in at the Democratic Party headquarters.