Donald Trump spoke on Saturday night during a closed-door speech to the Republican Party of Florida. The dinner raised $3.5 million for the state party. This event was the state’s annual Statesman Dinner was conducted with unusual secrecy.
The 1,000 plus attendees were required to check their cell phones into individually locked cases before they were allowed to enter into the ballroom. Reporters were banned from the event.
The secrecy appeared to be key to Trump’s odd performance, which attendees labeled as “hilarious.”
Without the pressure of having the press present and the knowledge that cell phones were locked away Trump attempted to be a comedian according to six individuals that attended the weekend event and after spoke with the local news source the Miami Herald.
In an unusual move Trump brought Army 1st Lt. Clint Lorance and Maj. Mathew Golsteyn, two U.S. soldiers who Trump pardoned last month from cases that involved war crimes. Lorance had been sentenced to serve 19 years for ordering his soldiers to shoot three unarmed men on motorcycles in Afghanistan, Two of the men died and the third was seriously injured. Golsteyn was to stand trial for the 2010 extrajudicial killing of a suspected bomb maker, but Trump pardoned him before his trial began.
Trump spoke for more than an hour attempting to do impressions of Democrats such as Nancy Pelosi and making fun of the slim physique of Ohio congressman Jim Jordan.
Trump also brought his son-in-law Jared Kushner and Florida Congressman Mike Waltz onto the stage.
Trump, at one point, called Attorney General Ashley Moody, Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis and all of the Republican state lawmakers in attendance onto the stage. He heaped praise on Gov. Ron DeSantis, who he called “a good guy.”
“DeSantis is always up in Washington bugging me for federal aid and federal money,” Trump said. “He is unabashed in making asks for Florida.”
The attendees who spoke with the Herald compared Trump’s speech to his Twitter feed where he often refers to the impeachment inquiry as a “sham” and a “witch hunt.”
“Ever since I came down the escalator to announce [my candidacy], [Democrats] have been after me,” Trump said. The attendees shared that he went on to boast about the nation’s low unemployment rate, hid numbers in the polls, and the success of the dinner.
After his speech attendees enjoyed drinks at the resort bar while Trump took off for Hollywood where he was scheduled to speak at the Israeli-American Council.