Trump depicted as American football player at bizarre Mar-a-Lago Trumpettes event

Nationalistic gala sees president let his hair down as impeachment trial comes to close

Andy Gregory
Sunday 02 February 2020 17:22 GMT
Donald Trump walks beneath a backdrop portraying himself as an American football player
Donald Trump walks beneath a backdrop portraying himself as an American football player (screengrab)

Donald Trump appeared in front of an inanely grinning caricature of himself dressed as an American football player as he courted supporters at a re-election campaign party this weekend.

The president and first lady took to the stage amid the dying notes of Lee Greenwood’s ballad “I’m Proud to Be an American”, as the sporting-inspired artwork loomed above, clutching a football with “2020” emblazoned on it.

The Mar-a-Lago event, called “Red, white and blue celebrating Trump gala”, was organised by the Trumpettes – a group launched by Trump-supporting women during his 2016 campaign.

Mr Trump opened his speech by claiming more than 1,000 “women, all women, only women” responded to the Trumpettes’ first “little” advert, before falsely telling the audience his poll ratings were the best they had ever been.

The triumphalist gala came a day after Republicans chose not to hear from witnesses in the Senate impeachment trial, paving the way for Mr Trump’s near-inevitable acquittal next week.

Footage uploaded to social media showed Mr Trump pass cheerleaders clad in red, white and blue, stopping briefly to applaud himself as he entered the busy hall, where guests cheered and exclaimed “oh my god” as Greenwood serenaded them from the stage.

The heavily nationalistic event saw attendees sing along in the dark to Kate Smith’s “God Bless America”, which has been banned by some sports teams as a result of the singer having also performed racist songs.

The president’s son, Donald Jr, was photographed addressing the crowd, while footage also showed Lynnette Hardaway of pro-Trump duo Diamond and Silk proclaim: “We found that just because you’re black it didn’t mean you have to vote Democrat.”

The first lady also gave a rare speech, in which she appeared to signal a decision to play a more involved, public role in her husband’s campaign than in 2016.

“I am looking forward to campaigning and fighting for Americans and our great nation,” Melania Trump said, while someone behind the camera can be heard to remark happily how “different” she is from Michelle Obama.​

At around midnight, Mr Trump took to Twitter to mock Democratic candidate Michael Bloomberg’s height, who he referred to by the epithet “Mini Mike”.

The president claimed Mr Bloomberg “is now negotiating both to get on the Democrat primary debate stage, and to have the right to stand on boxes, or a lift, during the debates”.

“He is going nowhere, just wasting his money, but he is getting the DNC to rig the election against Crazy Bernie,” Mr Trump said, adding: “They are doing it to Bernie again, 2016.”

There is no evidence to suggest Mr Bloomberg is either negotiating to stand on a lift during primary debates or to “rig the election” against Bernie Sanders.

Mr Trump’s allegation may have been a confused reference to the DNC’s removal of the fundraising threshold from its debate qualifications on Friday – a decision that allows Mr Bloomberg to participate.

The Trumpettes’ gala came just days after police officers opened fire at the resort after opera singer Hannah Roemhild crashed her car through two security checkpoints.

Hours later, Mr Trump arrived at his resort in Florida – where two Miami University students await the results of tests determining whether they have contracted coronavirus.

Mr Trump took to Twitter to post a photograph of himself playing golf, despite having berated Barack Obama for doing the same during the Ebola crisis.

On Sunday, he is due to host his annual Super Bowl party.

Mr Trump has previously insisted that NFL players who kneel during the national anthem, to protest police racism and brutality, should be banned for a season with no pay.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in