President Trump arrives for Easter; Melania visits kids at St. Mary’s


President Donald Trump arrived Thursday to begin a long weekend at his Mar-a-Lago estate while first lady Melania Trump made a surprise visit to deliver Easter baskets to children at St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach.

Only four days after Trump wrapped up his last South Florida sojourn, Air Force One landed at Palm Beach International Airport at 6:07 p.m. to begin Trump’s 16th visit to Palm Beach as president. Earlier in the afternoon, Vice President Mike Pence landed in Fort Myers to begin a weeklong vacation in Southwest Florida.

Melania Trump was already in Palm Beach, arriving with the president last weekend and then remaining at Mar-a-Lago with son Barron for spring break. On Thursday afternoon, she paid a visit to St. Mary’s that wasn’t announced until afterward by her spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham.

“Enjoyed my visit to @StMarysMC today. So great to spend time with some of their brave patients and hard working doctors and nurses,” she posted on her official @FLOTUS Twitter account.

“On behalf of our patients and our staff, our CEO, Gabrielle Finley-Hazel, wants to thank @FLOTUS for the cheer and joy she delivered to the Palm Beach Children’s Hospital at St. Mary’s today,” said a tweet on the hospital’s Twitter account afterward.

Melania Trump also made a surprise visit during Easter week last year, spending time with girls at HomeSafe, a group home for victims of abuse and domestic violence in Lake Worth.

Before coming to Florida on Thursday, Trump stopped near Cleveland in Richfield, Ohio, to promote infrastructure spending in a speech that also veered into topics such as the midterm elections, the opioid crisis, the ratings for Roseanne Barr’s new sitcom and moving the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

At Palm Beach International Airport, the president waved to a group of supporters gathered about 200 feet away on the tarmac before getting into his limousine for brief trip to Mar-a-Lago.

Along Southern Boulevard, Trump supporters outnumbered opponents.

Trump flags and signs that said “God Bless President Trump” and “Great American Comeback” were among the expressions of support. Before the president drove by, many of the Trump fans focused on Ray McGogney and his blonde-wigged mannequin and sign that said “Stormy Daniels Says ‘Hi.’”

“Go home to your blow-up doll!” one Trump supporter yelled from across the street.

“What’d you think of the women Clinton raped?” another shouted.

McGogney — a part-time West Palm Beach resident — said he was getting a positive reaction from passing motorists before the road was shut down for the motorcade

“You see them smile and laugh as they go by?” he said, waving back at the cars. “I think there’s some humor in all this.”

Mary Kelley, a Trump supporter from Lake Worth, said she hasn’t paid much attention to porn star Daniels’ claims of a 2006 affair with Trump and didn’t watch Daniels’ Sunday interview on CBS’ 60 Minutes.

“We don’t care about that,” Kelley said. “We elected him to get rid of the corruption in Washington.”

Doug Altman, a part-time Delray Beach resident holding a blue “Make America Great Again” flag, said he has waited for Trump’s motorcade near the Southern Boulevard bridge about 30 times. Years from now, he predicted, Trump will be remembered as a great president.

“Next to Lincoln as the greatest president we’ve ever had,” Altman said.

Staff writers Christine Stapleton and Ian Cohen contributed to this story.



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