POLITICS

Trump loyalists descend on Mar-a-Lago as news breaks of FBI search

Stephany Matat
Palm Beach Post

PALM BEACH — Former President Donald Trump's loyalists were furious Monday evening, and they descended on the ex-president's Mar-a-Lago estate to protest the private club's search by Federal Bureau of Investigation agents. 

"You can't trust the FBI," said Billy Sacco, of West Palm Beach. "They're doing something stupid."

The scene at Mar-a-Lago after news of the FBI search

Sacco was one of more than 50 protestors, many in patriotic garb, who waved Trump 2020 flags in front of the Palm Beach estate as well as from the Southern Boulevard bridge.

Others paraded in cars blaring songs like Tom Petty's "I Wont Back Down" or AC/DC's "Highway to Hell." The vehicles also sported Trump Pence 2020 signage alongside American flags, except that former Vice President Mike Pence's name had been struck through.

Many protestors speculated that the FBI searched the estate to look for stolen National Archive records.

Earlier that evening, Trump confirmed the search in a statement in which he raged at a "raid" he said amounted to "prosecutorial misconduct, the weaponization of the Justice System, and an attack by Radical Left Democrats who desperately don't want me to run for president in 2024." He said Mar-a-Lago, which serves as his legal residence, was "under siege" by the FBI and that agents who also "broke into" his safe.

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Robert Reeves, a 48-year-old local, said he'd like to know who signed off on a warrant.

"You can't just raid that," he said, pointing toward the Palm Beach club. 

Gallery:FBI search Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home in Florida

As the pro-Trump crowd swelled, five police cars were parked surrounding the estate, and officers from the Palm Beach Sheriff's Office and local police were present as well. A West Palm Beach officer told The Palm Beach Post that it was very peaceful and there were no incidents after a few hours of the protesters being there.

By nighttime, a dim light glowed from the tower in the Mar-a-Lago buildings, while blue and red lights and sirens were blaring in the streets.

Protesters occasionally chanted in front of Mar-a-Lago, a few times saying "We want Trump" in unison. They yelled toward cars passing by, saying that there was nothing to indict Trump with and that the FBI is a "joke."

"This is one of the most disgusting things I've seen or heard in my lifetime as an American," one protestor yelled into the small crowd. "Where is the law inside all of this?"

Stephany Matat is the politics reporter at the Palm Beach Post, part of the USA TODAY Florida Network. You can reach her at smatat@pbpost.com