Trump leaving White House on Wednesday for warmer welcome in Florida
MIAMI: President Donald Trump will leave Washington in disgrace next week, destined for a warmer welcome in Florida, where some supporters are so gung-ho they recently wrote his name on the back of a fat, lumbering manatee.
Days after suffering the ignominy of a second impeachment, Mr Trump will skip his successor Joe Biden's inauguration and depart early Wednesday for his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida. Apparently, he plans to live there.
There are also signs his adult children will decamp south to be near their father, who was cut off from Twitter and other social networks that were his megaphone after being widely accused of instigating the Jan 6 assault by his supporters on the US Capitol.
Locals can already be heard whispering, angrily: "There goes the neighbourhood."
They are not happy with the prospect of Mr Trump settling among them.
Last month, people in Palm Beach sent the city council a letter recalling that under a 1993 agreement, Mar-a-Lago was not zoned as a full-time residence.
That letter, published by The Washington Post, states that use of the living quarters at the golf resort "shall be limited to a maximum of three (3) non-consecutive seven (7) day periods by any one member during the year."
The resort denies that the 1993 accord contains this restriction.
"The Trumps may be surprised to learn that the voter rolls in the three main South Florida counties - Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade - are dominated by Democrats," said Mr Craig Pittman, a Florida native and the author of five books on the state.
"In fact, the congressional representative for the district that covers Mar-a-Lago, Ms Lois Frankel, has voted not once but twice to impeach her most famous constituent," Mr Pittman said.
Still, over the past four years Mr Trump has built up a solid base of support in Florida, mainly among non-urban white people and conservative Latinos.
One of his most loyal followers is Miami Cuban-American Enrique Tarrio, a leader of the right-wing Proud Boys group.
Mr Trump's support is so strong in Florida that last Sunday a live manatee was found with "Trump" etched onto its back. - AFP