Trump's Easter: Twitter, church, brunch, egg hunt, wheels-up to D.C.


The president came to pray.

But nothing about Donald Trump’s visits to Palm Beach is simple, and neither was his attendance at Easter service Sunday morning at the Episcopal Church of Bethesda-by-the-Sea during Trump’s seventh presidential visit to his Mar-a-Lago estate.

A line of worshippers in Easter florals and wide-brimmed hats snaked outside the front door, waiting for searches of purses and hoping for seats. Metal detectors were on-site, as were Secret Service agents in bulletproof vests. A double line of motorcycle cops parked in a side street. Traffic slowed in front of the church at 141 South County Road and then was stopped entirely prior to the presidential motorcade’s arrival at the church.

>> Read more trending news

Across the street, long-time Trump supporter Lina Lindroos, of Hypoluxo, stood on the hood of a Trump-mobile, a high-profile homage on wheels to the president, an object of international attention cobbled together from three different cars. Standing nearby was her husband, Karl, a part of the Lantana Finnish community, which supported Trump.

Just around the corner from both, Lauren Lester, a Palm Beach resident in a pink hat and dress, held up a hand-lettered sign with the message, “Palm Beach is powered by immigrants.”

“I wouldn’t want to detract from the president’s Easter,” Lester said. “I pray for him as a person and as a president.”

But, she said, “I think it’s important to remember our immigrants here in Palm Beach, who prepare our meals, care for our young and our elderly.”

As Lester stood on the corner with her sign, a woman walked past, turned on her heels and came back, wagging her finger at Lester.

“Let me tell you something. I am Mexican, I am legal, I pay taxes and we need a wall!” she said angrily before walking away.

With his wife Susan and two daughters, Steve Sampson, an associate principal at Rutland High School in Virginia, also stopped to talk with Lester. Rutland was the object of national controversy when its mayor, who pushed to make the town a refugee resettlement center for Syrians and Iraqis, lost his bid for re-election.

The town was sharply divided over the issue, which “was near and dear to many people’s hearts,” Sampson said. For advocates of bringing refugees into the town, “it has made us even more dedicated” to the cause of immigrants, he said.

It’s doubtful the Trump entourage saw either Lester’s sign or the Trump-mobile.

A block away, the president, first lady Melania Trump, their son Barron, Trump’s daughter Tiffany, and the first lady’s parents entered the church for 11 a.m. services from a series of tents erected to give the family privacy.

The Rev. James Harlan, the church’s rector, gave a welcome message before the service with instructions on receiving communion — and turning off cellphones and cameras.

Most of congregation appeared not to be distracted by the president sitting in the pews, though some said Trump’s presence was significant.

“I think it does give a special meaning to the service to have the president here,” said Jim Beasley, a member at Bethesda. “I think it’s an old custom for presidents to go to church on Sunday, certainly on Easter and Christmas especially. It’s just a matter of where he chooses to go. I think it’s very impressive that he’s here, not just at Bethesda but here in Palm Beach.”

London resident Arthur McCalmont, who sat two rows away from the president, was relieved politics had been left outside the church doors. The service was “very nonpolitical, very noncontroversial,” he said.

Trump left after taking communion.

Trump was active on his Twitter account before church — wishing “Happy Easter to everyone!” and also tweeting about relations with China, his desire to strengthen the U.S. military and his apparent annoyance with Saturday’s anti-Trump rallies near Mar-a-Lago and nationwide.

“I did what was an almost an impossible thing to do for a Republican-easily won the Electoral College! Now Tax Returns are brought up again?” Trump tweeted. Later, he added: “Someone should look into who paid for the small organized rallies yesterday. The election is over!”

The first family planned to brunch at Mar-a-Lago with Trump’s other sons, Eric and Donald Trump Jr., then hold an afternoon Easter egg hunt.

It was the first time in seven presidential Sundays at Mar-a-Lago that Trump did not visit his nearby Trump International Golf Club in unincorporated West Palm Beach. The president did get time on the course Friday and Saturday, however.

Trump left Mar-a-Lago around 3:50 p.m. Sunday for Palm Beach International Airport to return to Washington on Air Force One.

A couple dozen people watched at the foot of the Southern Boulevard Bridge as his motorcade made its way to the airport. Some were there to show support while others were just unexpectedly caught in traffic.

Regina Taylor, of Houston, said she is in West Palm Beach visiting family for Easter weekend and wanted to wish the president well.

“I just struck it at the right time that I was here when the president came in,” she said, holding an American flag. “It’s a wonderful experience for me.”

Trump stuck his head close to the window of his black SUV and waved to supporters as Secret Service drove him by. The cars were only a few feet from onlookers and Trump was easily visible.

“I feel privileged,” Taylor said of the sighting. “I’m going to go back and tell all my friends. I just feel happy that I had this experience and I wish everyone would have it.”

The motorcade arrived at the airport about 4 p.m., and Trump and Mrs. Trump climbed the stairs of Air Force One together, followed by Trump sons Donald Jr. and Eric and their families. The plane took off about 4:15 p.m.

Palm Beach Daily News staff writer Aleese Kopf contributed to this story.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Nation & World

Man threatens barking puppy with gun
Man threatens barking puppy with gun

Puyallup police are searching for a man who they say pulled a gun on a woman and her puppy in the middle of a local park. The incident happened in Decoursey Park in downtown Puyallup. On the Puyallup police Facebook page, it said on Thursday around 12:40 p.m., a man walked up to the woman who was there with her puppy. After he asked if she knew how...
JUST IN: 2 teens painted swastika on Chihuahua's head as a prank 
JUST IN: 2 teens painted swastika on Chihuahua's head as a prank 

Two teenagers painted a swastika on a Chihuahua’s head with nail polish as a joke, according to police in Arizona.  A Phoenix-area woman, who was not identified by KPNX, said the Chihuahua turned up on her doorstep last week. "She’s thinking, ‘What is this?’” the woman’s cousin, Sally Andrade, told...
5-year-old dies after domestic violence incident at UNC
5-year-old dies after domestic violence incident at UNC

Authorities say a 5-year-old has died and his parents were injured in a domestic violence incident at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Multiple media outlets report the violence occurred shortly after midnight Sunday in a single-family residence at the Baity Hill family housing community. The UNC website describes Baity Hill as an apartment...
Aztecs, Mayans marveled at eclipses — and predicted them with precision
Aztecs, Mayans marveled at eclipses — and predicted them with precision

Astronomers across the ages have looked up to the skies and marveled at eclipses. Using different numerical systems, the Aztecs and the Mayans observed eclipses and could predict with precision when the next one would occur. In fact, they could have predicted Monday’s solar eclipse with small margins of error, experts say. Anthony Aveni is a...
8-week-old mauled to death by family dogs
8-week-old mauled to death by family dogs

An 8-week-old boy was mauled to death by the family dogs over the weekend. Michael James Obergas was in his bassinet in a secure room. When his parents walked away, one of their dogs nudged open a door and attacked the child, according to KTRK. Paramedics were called to the house for the dog bite and took the child to Memorial Greater Heights...
More Stories