A boat parade down the Intracoastal Waterway in Palm Beach County supporting President Donald Trump was organized on social media and drew the attention of Trump, who tweeted about it.
A fleet of hundreds of boats paraded along the Intracoastal waterway Sunday in support of President Donald Trump with flag-waving spectators cheering from canal banks and seawalls.
The supersize procession, which traveled from Jupiter to Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach and back, was dubbed “Trumptilla” by some supporters, who learned of the pageant through Facebook.
Organizer Carlos Gavidia, of Jupiter, said as many as 1,200 boats were involved in the 8-mile long parade, but only a fraction made it all the way to Mar-a-Lago. About 360 were counted traveling to the Southern Boulevard bridge just south of the winter White House before turning around and heading back north.
Gavidia changed the name of his 42-foot boat to Trump and had a $7,000 wrap of Trump regalia put on it after he said a neighbor in his Admiral’s Cove community complained about his Trump flag.
“When the boat got wrapped there was some mixed feelings but more people were cheering me on,” said Gavidia, 53. “I know people who trailored their boats from Daytona Beach to participate today.”
It was the first time in weeks that so many boats were able to launch from marina’s countywide, which had been closed since late March because of coronavirus.
Trump tweeted a video of the parade, saying “Thank you very much to our beautiful ‘boaters.’ I will never let you down.”
Thank you very much to our beautiful “boaters.” I will never let you down!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 3, 2020
“My wife and I are big Trump supporters and I’ll do anything to support the president,” said Jupiter resident Joe Spano, who drove his boat in the parade. “I’m more of a constitutionalist and I feel what he is doing stays in line with the constitution.”
Trump retweeted a video of Gavidia’s boat Saturday.
Very cool. Please thank him! https://t.co/7nc79fCFip
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 2, 2020
On Flagler Drive in West Palm Beach across from the Mar-a-Lago, about 75 supporters cheered on the boaters.
While a pause in the parade occurred as boats turned around at the Southern Boulevard bridge in front of the historic estate, no one dawdled too long or tried to anchor a-la Boca Bash or similar to the weekend floating parties at Peanut Island - practices that would violate social-distancing rules.
Gavidia said he didn’t make it all the way to Mar-a-Lago. Concerned about too much congestion in the Intracoastal, he said many boats headed out into the ocean to continue the parade in less constrained waters.
Patsy Bryant, 80, waited on the sea wall for the parade. She said she is a lifelong Democrat, but voted for Trump and will do so again.
“I believe in his plans and he’s been doing a good job,” said Bryant, a North Carolina resident visiting her daughter in North Palm Beach. “He’s steadfast, he doesn’t give in.”
West Palm Beach resident Chip Hall rode his skateboard up and down the sidewalk waving a Trump and American flag.
The 48-year-old recently moved to South Florida from California, and is frustrated by the slow reopening of businesses and beaches as new coronavirus cases decrease. Palm Beach County has yet to open its beaches, although parks, golf courses and pools are allowed to open.
“He has a tough job with constant backlash and criticism,” Hall said about Trump. “It goes both ways. Far right, far left. It’s gotten totally out of control.”