Prominent Trump supporters are flocking to Governor Ron DeSantis' Florida in search of "freedom," no income taxes and — most importantly — access to the former president at his Mar-a-Lago resort, according to a new report from Vanity Fair.
"Behold Florida, the state that reshaped the conservative vision of America in the age of Trump," the magazine's Joe Hagan reports. "Over four tumultuous years, the former president turned Florida into the de facto homeland of the GOP, site of the 'Southern White House,' and haloed himself in Floridian allies and courtesans: Florida congressman Matt Gaetz; Palm Beach-based Laura Ingraham, Lou Dobbs, and Ann Coulter; Jupiter-based Mark Levin; Boca Grande-based Tucker Carlson; Palm City-based Dan Bongino; as well as Sean Hannity, who has a condo in Palm Beach, and newly minted Floridian émigré of the right, Ben Shapiro."
Hagan explores how the Florida-based National Enquirer, launched by a childhood friend of Trump mentor Roy Cohn, fueled not only the former president's ascent but also gave rise to the "paranoid and factually challenged style" of modern right-wing media outlets such as Fox News and Newsmax.
He also visits with Trump confidant and convicted felon Roger Stone, who takes him to a MAGA bar. "If you're 18 and trying to get laid, this is the place to go," an unvaccinated Stone says, before almost getting in a fistfight. Then there is Ann Coulter, who gives Hagan a "right-wing tour" of Palm Beach County and later declares that both she and close friend Matt Drudge, shunned by Trumpworld for daring to criticize the former president, are leaving Florida.
Hagan and Stone also dine with with notoriously Islamophobic right-wing provocateur Laura Loomer, who explains the appeal of the Sunshine State for her and other like-minded folks.
"All roads lead to Mar-a-Lago," Loomer says. "Anybody who is anybody, who wants to be somebody in politics, has to formulate their political career and build up a donor base and establish themselves in Palm Beach County. This is where the political power within the right wing or the America First movement is centralized. ... I was with President Trump three times in one week."
Hagan calls it a "safe space from liberals."
Finally, there is Toni Holt Kramer, the founder of the Trumpettes, a pro-Trump socialite group that includes the former president's son's girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle, as an honorary member.
For the Trumpettes and apparently many others, Hagan explains, "the Trump presidency was one long Mar-a-Lago function, a parade of right-wing political stars who came for dinner and photographs."
"He's superman," Holt Kramer says of Trump.