The wedding guests started getting excited last week when the president’s schedule said he would be in his New Jersey golf club for the weekend. They knew the bride and groom — ardent Donald Trump fans — had chosen their venue with the president in mind and invited him to attend.
But when Trump actually showed up at the Staten Island newlyweds’ festivities Saturday at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster, the guests were in shock. A video posted to Instagram shows cheers, screams, cellphones held high and, eventually, a roaring chant of “U-S-A! U-S-A!” as the couple put their arms around the president, pumping their fists.
“We were hoping, since it’s his golf club,” the bride, Nicole Mongelli, said on “Fox & Friends” on Monday morning. “But the response was amazing, the energy in that whole ballroom was unbelievable. Even the waiters and waitresses said they’ve never seen a wedding with such amazing energy.”
It wasn’t the first time Trump has showed up to a wedding at one of his properties. He made an appearance at another wedding at his Bedminster club last summer, as well as the summer before — prompting attendees to take up the same “U-S-A!” chant after he left. In February 2017, he dropped by the Mar-a-Lago wedding of a Nashville socialite just after a news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
That track record gave the Mongellis’ guests some inkling that the president might drop by Saturday’s events, which were decorated with Trump 2020 signs as well as American flags. The anticipation heightened last week after a Federal Aviation Administration flight restriction indicated the president would be in the area, guest Linda Kazmerski told The Washington Post. Then, early in the evening on Saturday, someone snapped a picture of the president heading upstairs in the club, she recalled.
“We knew there was a chance he might stop in and at least say hi to the bride and groom, but having him stop during the ceremony was a complete surprise,” she said.
The screams started. Tables cleared. Everyone ran to the middle of the ballroom, Kazmerski said. Kazmerski was late getting up and ended up filming from close behind the president, surprised no one in the Secret Service tried to move her.
Trump stayed for just a few minutes, Kazmerski said. But she saw the appearance as a testament to Trump’s accessibility.
“You don’t have to be a big donor for him to reach out to people,” she said.
Earlier, the president had stopped by to talk with the couple and their family members.
In another video clip posted to Instagram, a guest asks at this smaller meet-and-greet whether the president remembers the bride, saying she took a picture with Trump on Staten Island.
“We love you so much, Mr. President,” a man who identifies himself as “the father” tells Trump.
Trump hugs the bride in her white dress and shakes groom PJ Mongelli’s hand, telling him that he has big shoulders and joking that you wouldn’t want to mess with him.
“You’re the best,” the bride tells the president. Another woman off-camera tells Trump that the wedding of 230 guests is full of supporters.
“Staten Island, I love it!” Trump responds, pumping his fist. “Staten Island is the greatest.”
Mary Perosi, mother of the bride, told The Post that all but a handful of attendees were Trump fans. The few who were not “had the utmost respect the whole time, because they were there for Nicole and PJ,” she said.
“Everybody said, ‘This is the leader of the world, he is at this wedding,’ ” she said. “The energy at that wedding was off the charts.”
Recounting what Nicole Mongelli called a “surreal” experience Monday on Fox, the couple said Trump left them a signed note — Nicole plans to frame it — and said they would happily make the president their future child’s godfather. Nicole said she hopes to be a guest at one of Trump’s events someday.
Reminded that the president might be watching the segment on his favorite news channel, the Mongellis reiterated their support for Trump.
“We love you,” they both said.
Reached for comment Monday morning, the Mongellis said they couldn’t talk — they were at “Inside Edition” for another interview.