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Trump marks 78th birthday in West Palm Beach with giant ‘MAGA’ cake and attacks on Biden

The Club 47 event sold out of 5,000 tickets
Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump gestures after speaking at his birthday celebration, hosted by Club 47, in West Palm Beach, Fla., Friday, June 14, 2024.
Posted at 8:15 PM, Jun 14, 2024

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Donald Trump marked his 78th birthday on Friday night by addressing a fawning crowd in Florida, promising to crack down hard on the U.S.-Mexico border and repeatedly dismissing his opponent in November's election, President Joe Biden, as too frail to handle a second term.

The former president elicited strong cheers by listing his now-familiar campaign plans, including discussing immigration in menacing terms, pledging to protect gun rights and reduce regulations, scrap environmental protections to stimulate domestic energy production and cutting taxes — which he argued could further tame inflation that has already begun to ease, according to recent indicators.

“Our country is being destroyed by incompetent people,” Trump said. And, as he officially moved to age 78 compared to the 81-year-old Biden, he laced into the president as being confused: “All presidents should have aptitude tests.”

Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Byron Donalds, both Florida Republicans, helped warm up the crowd of “Club 47” fan club members at the Palm Beach Convention Center, a short drive from the former president's Mar-a-Lago residence.

Donald Trump's 78th birthday cake
A birthday cake is carried onto the stage before Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at his birthday celebration, hosted by Club 47, in West Palm Beach, Fla., Friday, June 14, 2024.

Before Trump took the stage, organizers brought out a multi-layered cake as audience members tossed red and blue balloons. The cake had separate tiers featuring a “Make America Great Again” baseball cap and the Club 47 logo, an American flag, the phrase “Born in the USA on Flag Day," a depiction of Trump golfing and the Oval Office fitted gold frames common in many Trump properties as well as Trump and Republican logos.

It sat on a gold-colored base and remained on stage until Trump's speech began, when the crowd sang “Happy Birthday” and chanted “USA! USA!”

“This is the biggest birthday party I've ever had,” Trump said.

Supporters at Donald Trump's birthday event
Supporters pray during the invocation before Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at his birthday celebration, hosted by Club 47, in West Palm Beach, Fla., Friday, June 14, 2024.

Trump also referenced his conviction on 34 felony counts on Friday, declaring, “In the end they’re not after me, they’re after you and I just happened to be standing in their way.”

Mary Lou and Sue Reardon both came to the event from the Villages near Ocala. Both were wearing U.S. flag shirts and matching “Birthday” headbands with candles.

“We just feel like he’s our last hope,” Reardon said of Trump.

The event in Trump’s adopted home state is sold out of 5,000 tickets at about $35 apiece, with closer spots to the stage costing $60, according to Club 47 President Larry Snowden.

It was yet another strong show of support for Trump and came a day after Republicans in Congress sang their own rendition of “Happy Birthday” and presented the former president with a cake and gifts during a Thursday visit to Capitol Hill — displaying remarkable loyalty for a former president who was shunned by many of the same lawmakers after the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot.

Even after becoming the first former president to have been convicted of a felony, Trump has tightened his grip on much of his party's base and elected officials. Next month, he is scheduled to accept his party's presidential nomination for the third time.

Trump is also now three years younger than Democratic President Joe Biden, who is 81 and doesn't have a birthday until after Election Day in November.

Trump Birthday event merch
A vendor sells merchandise before Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at his birthday celebration, hosted by Club 47, in West Palm Beach, Fla., Friday, June 14, 2024.

To mark Trump's birthday, Biden's campaign compiled a listing of “78 of Trump’s historic… ‘accomplishments,’” with links to media coverage of policy proposals including “cutting Social Security and Medicare,” Trump's presidency during GOP losses in the U.S. House and Senate and several references to his legal cases.

“On behalf of America, our early gift for your 79th: Making sure you are never President again," Biden campaign spokesperson James Singer added to the birthday wishes.

Things were far less confrontational when Trump was in Washington to meet with House and Senate Republicans in his first visit to Capitol Hill since the riot, which was carried out by Trump supporters seeking to overturn his 2020 loss to Biden. A room of House Republicans sang “Happy Birthday” to Trump and gifted him with a baseball and bat from the annual congressional game.

Senators later presented an American flag cake with 45 candles, referencing that Trump was the 45th president. Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming then added two more candles with the numerals 4 and 7.

“We’re all committed to make sure he becomes the 47th president,” Barrasso told reporters later, adding: "As he was sitting there, I pull them out, put them on. He loved it. And that was the last big applause at the end when you heard that.”

Among the senators who attended the gathering was Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who endorsed Trump earlier this year despite not having spoken since 2020. Barrasso told reporters that Trump and McConnell spoke and exchanged a fist bump.

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Snowden, Club 47's president, and others said they expect Trump to talk about the verdict in New York as part of his regular campaign message. Trump will be sentenced on July 11.

“Our people are anxious to hear his expression of his commitment to move ahead. I know that he is committed to continue to move ahead no matter what the left-wing side of our country throws at him,” Snowden said.

Club 47 is based in Palm Beach County and says on its website that the club’s goal is to keep Trump’s supporters “in our area connected and engaged.” Trump most recently spoke to the club in October, days after the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks on Israel.

Lydia Maldonado, a local Hispanic activist who plans to attend Friday, said she’s frequently attended events at Club 47 and been surrounded by a crowd adorned in U.S. flag shirts, Trump 2024 gear and U.S.-themed costumes.

Maldonado said this event is unique compared to any rally or event nationwide with the former president. Maldonado said she’s excited to be at an event for Trump’s birthday, but she also thinks Trump feels comfortable and familiar with this crowd since it’s his hometown.

“The purpose of having this event is pretty much to let him know how much the community here loves him and how much the community supports him,” Maldonado said.