Drama, division and debate surround Trump – even on a Florida golf course
Palm Beach National Golf and Country Club considers itself Florida’s friendliest course, which is just as well because the fairways are peppered with players who have wildly different views, particularly where Donald Trump is concerned.
Sue White has her golf bag on the back of the buggy, complete with pink fluffy club head covers. She and a group of friends are preparing to tee off.
“I’m not sure you want to hear my views onDonald Trump,” she says with a wry smile.
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She remembers a time when Trump running for president was considered a joke here. Almost a decade later, he’s in the dock.
“I love it,” she says, “I want to see him handcuffed. I want to see him in an orange suit. I think he deserves everything he gets.”
Sue’s friend Julie Dell, a Democrat voter, agrees.
“He’s a crook,” says Julie. “He’s a thief. We knew that before he ever got in office. But people voted him in, and he still has followers. And I would say that even if he ran for president, there’s a good chance he could still get in.”
Trump has declared he will run for the Republican nomination for 2024.
A walk past the driving range to Tony the Tiger’s snack bar is proof that plenty of people here would still vote for him despite the arrest.
“Donald Trump became the best president ever in the United States,” says Tony “The Tiger” Lopez.
“A guy who dedicated his life to make a successful American economy. It was the best economy ever. It is embarrassing for America to do that kind of stuff to our president – these charges are political.”
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Lon Lewis voted for Trump in 2020 but doesn’t know whether he would do again.
“I’m not sure if I, or the country, could stand another four years of Donald Trump,” he says.
But, still, he thinks the criminal charges against the former president are politically motivated by Democratic Party actors.
“I think they’re just looking to put some incidents out there,” says Lon. “If they stick, fine. If they don’t, they haven’t lost anything because it’s not their names being dragged through the mud.”
Team Trump is boasting about how much money has been raised – $7m (£5.6m) and counting – in campaign donations in the past six days since the indictment was made public.
Recent polling shows Trump is still the driving force behind the Republican Party. It’s no surprise to Walt Parcheta, who is playing 18 holes with his friends.
“Trump is a lying, conniving guy,” says Walt, “but I have friends that if they had him on video shooting somebody and killing them, they would still support him.”
With that, Walt drives off in his buggy toward the next hole. The round of golf continues. So, too, does the drama, division and debate which, as ever, surround Donald Trump.