President Donald Trump left his winter White House at Mar-a-Lago on Sunday after a weekend that included his first extended visit with a foreign leader and the first international test of his presidency after a North Korean missile launch.
Air Force One left Palm Beach International Airport at 5:30 p.m. after the president’s second consecutive weekend in Palm Beach.
The presidential motorcade made the trip from Mar-a-Lago to the airport along Southern Boulevard shortly after 5 p.m. Between Lake and Parker avenues, a few hundred protesters and a smaller number of supporters lined the road.
“Just leaving Florida. Big crowds of enthusiastic supporters lining the road that the FAKE NEWS media refuses to mention. Very dishonest!” Trump tweeted at 5:19 p.m. as his limousine was rolling up to the airport.
Most of the people between Lake and Parker were demonstrators organized by opponents of Trump’s environmental stances and, specifically, the Dakota Access, Keystone XL and Sabal Trail pipelines. Their chants included “Planet over profit, health over wealth” and “Hey hey, ho ho, Donald Trump has got to go.”
The crowd was a considerable drop-off from the estimated 3,000 anti-Trump demonstrators who marched in West Palm Beach last weekend. But Mark Offerman, of a Facebook group called United Against Trump Pence, said he was “pleased” by the turnout and plans to organize more protests whenever Trump visits Palm Beach.
“Trump has mobilized us,” said protester Joan Kasloff, 77, of Greenacres.
“Renewable energy is viable. There is no need for us to invest more money in oil,” said Paula Mendez, who described herself as an “apathetic citizen who didn’t care about politics. But this has awakened me.”
Some Trump supporters also gathered along Southern Boulevard, including a group of Cuban-Americans and Dave and Patty Heal, of Delray Beach, who cheered and waved as the motorcade passed.
“Everybody got to share their voice and their opinion. Everybody behaved themselves. Law enforcement did well,” Dave Heal said.
Trump arrived in Palm Beach Friday and hosted Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, playing golf with Abe Saturday. Trump also appeared with Abe late Saturday night for a brief news conference at Mar-a-Lago in response to the North Korean missile test.
Abe called the launch “absolutely intolerable.” Trump, who as a candidate once suggested that Japan and South Korea develop their own nuclear weapons programs to deter North Korea, offered a brief statement of support.
“I just want everybody to understand and fully know that the United States of America stands behind Japan, its great ally, 100 percent. Thank you,” Trump said.
Abe departed early Sunday morning. Trump had no public events on his schedule Sunday. But during a four-hour visit to his Trump International Golf Club outside West Palm Beach, the president tweeted his support for a key White House aide behind the controversial travel ban that has been put on hold by federal courts.
Senior White House policy adviser Stephen Miller appeared on four Sunday talk shows, defending the travel ban and saying the Trump administration is considering legal avenues or a rewritten executive order to reinstate temporary restrictions on visits by refugees and residents of seven largely Muslim nations.
“I want to say something very clearly, and this is going to be very disappointing to the people protesting the president and the people in Congress like Senator (Charles) Schumer who have attacked the president for his lawful and necessary action. The president’s powers here are beyond question,” Miller told Fox News. He also appeared on ABC, NBC and CBS.
“Congratulations Stephen Miller - on representing me this morning on the various Sunday morning shows. Great job!” Trump told his Twitter followers at 10:41 a.m. while he was at the golf club.
Staff writer Matt Morgan also contributed to this story.