UPDATE 1:56 p.m.: Not everyone who had a ticket to the rally got in. Sometime near 12:30 p.m., the gates were locked. Folks coming pout say it was standing room only withing the Expo Center.
Some have already left, eager perhaps to beat a backup in the parking lot. Trump signs are doing double-duty as rain hats. Anyone who thought to bring an umbrella had to leave it at the gate, along with bottled water and half-finished coffees. One woman ran out to stash her vape in a tree.
UPDATE 12:16 p.m.: The crows is eagerly awaiting Trump to arrive.
UPDATE 11:49 a.m.:
UPDATE 11:47 a.m.:
UPDATE: 11:37 a.m.: The Dowling siblings, ages 12, 10 and 8, are here on a field trip of sorts.
“Civics and history all combined into one,” said dad Brian Dowling, who brought Thomas, Niamh and Sean to the rally.
The trio is homeschooled in West Palm Beach.
“It’s a disgrace how political races have become dirtier and dirtier and dirtier,” said Dowling, who didn’t let that dissuade him from bringing the kids here at their mother’s mother suggestion.
The family backs Trump. Thomas says the issue that resonated was immigration.
“We’re in favor of legal immigration, not the back door.,” said dad.
UPDATE 11:26 a.m.: Sergio Michel talks about why he supports Donald Trump, saying we need a businessman to lead our country to financial prosperity. Michel said, “Banter and boy talk is what it is, and I myself have heard many women refer to me in very derogatory words.”
UPDATE 11:16 a.m.: Robins, the 16-year-old homeschooler from Royal Palm Beach, is now up to four new voters and three absentees.
UPDATE 11:08 a.m.: Lots of great photos are already coming in from today:
Want to see more? Visit our photo gallery.
UPDATE 10:58 a.m.: Check this out!
UPDATE: 10:50 a.m.: Crowds are continuing to pour in. Crowds are continuing to pour in.
UPDATE: 10:42 A.M.: The crowd has grown rapidly, headed for a couple thousand at the Expo Center of the South Florida Fairgrounds.
Homeschooler Brian Robins, 16, is working the line with a clipboard. His goal? Register potential voters. But so far, the crowd is proving well-prepared in terms of voter registration – he’s signed up just one.
Robins, of Royal Palm Beach, said he began volunteering for the Republican Party when he was 13. He enjoys the work but shies away from the rowdy or rude.
“I prefer when we are all together and respectful of each other’s opinions,” Robins said.
As the folks chant, “Lock her up,” Robins said that this group is tamer than the Rick Scott campaign.
“If you weren’t with Rick Scott, you were cussed off the doorstep. Same with (Charlie) Crist.”
Robins thinks law school may be in his future. But this week, he was happy to get all of his school work done in time for today’s event.
UPDATE: 10:32 A.M.: Ann Elizabeth Higgins and Margaret O’Connell of Century Village are out today to support Trump.
UPDATE: 10:25 a.m.: Some at the South Florida Fairgrounds are there to protest Donald Trump.
UPDATE 10:11 A.M.:
UPDATE 9:54 a.m.: Crowds continue to grow at the South Florida Fairgrounds.
UPDATE 9:41 a.m.: They started gathering at the South Florida Fairgrounds before dawn and by shortly after 9 a.m. some 500 or more Trump supporters were queuing up outside in light drizzling rain eager for a chance to see their choice for president.
They chanted “USA, USA,” and sported buttons declaring themselves Trump lovers, Hillary haters and among the “Basket of Deplorables” – a term Hillary Clinton coined but that some on Team Trump have adopted with angry pride – but just some.
“It didn’t make me mad, it hurt,” said Elaine Moretti of Palm Beach Gardens, as she stood with like-minded friends waiting for the Expo Center doors to open. Moretti shrugged off the accounts from two women in the New York Times and one in The Palm Beach Post that Trump groped, grabbed or kissed them without invitation.
“No one on the plane was ever notified,” Moretti said of the woman who told The Times Trump attempted to slip his hand up her skirt when she was seated beside him in first class 30 years ago.
Diane Kushner of Boynton Beach and Linda Polsney of Pompano toted a pink banner and wore T-Shirts declaring Women for Trump, the name of the group they founded eight months ago. They too aren’t buying these women’s stories. Too long ago. No one told. No one investigated. Then Kushner took up an argument Trump himself has made: Bill Clinton did worse.
As the two worked the crowd, they broke into chants of “Lock her up. Lock her up, “ referring to Hillary Clinton and her email woes.
ORIGINAL POST: Just a 10-mile drive from his Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Donald Trump today will campaign at the South Florida Fair Expo Center.
It’ll be the Republican nominee’s fourth rally in less than 48 hours in Florida, a state he must win to have any shot of winning the White House. Trump has trailed Hillary Clinton in recent Florida polls.
Trump has been rocked in the past week by the release of a 2005 tape in which he bragged about using his celebrity status to grope women and by reports Wednesday in The Palm Beach Post and in The New York Times of additional women going public with claims — denied by Trump — that he touched them inappropriately.
And follow The Palm Beach Post’s coverage all day today of Trump’s visit to Palm Beach County.
Post reporters, photographers and videographers will be at the Trump rally starting at 8:30 a.m. Thursday.
Political writer George Bennett, who has followed the Trump campaign across the state since the primary, will be tweeting at @gbennettpost and blogging at PostOnPolitics.com.
Sonja Isger will be reporting and tweeting at @sonjaisger
Follow a live stream from the rally at pbpost.com and The Palm Beach Post Facebook page.
After the rally, watch for video reports from Frank Cerabino at pbpost.com.
The rally starts at noon. Doors open at 10:30 a.m. Register at www.donaldjtrump.com/schedule/register/west-palm-beach-fl/