The caravan was part of what is being billed as a “summer of resistance” here, with organizers pledging to hold a similar “people’s motorcade” every Saturday this summer, whether Trump is in town or not.
“We don’t have to go to Washington to express how we feel,” said Jim Girvan, a local retiree who was among the organizers. “He’s here.”
Trump is expected to be here a lot this summer. After spending seven weekends as president at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, Trump’s secluded golf club here, located about 45 miles west of New York City, appears to be the preferred summer getaway.
This weekend marks the first time since taking office that Trump has come to a Republican-tilting community where he has many friends in addition to his detractors.
The property in this largely rural township of 8,200 people is among Trump’s favorites. It has been a regular summering spot for his family, and his daughter, Ivanka, married Jared Kushner there in 2009.
Girvan, a former local government employee who’s lived in the surrounding county for 25 years, said that in addition to opposing Trump’s politics, protesters are concerned about the impact of the president’s visit on the community.
Bedminster Township calculated that an anticipated seven visits this season by Trump would cost about $300,000 for police staffing and other matters — the equivalent of 3.5 percent of its entire budget, according to Mayor Steven Parker (R).
Parker said that he has been assured there is money for reimbursement in the federal spending bill Trump signed Friday, but Girvan said not everyone is convinced the township will be made whole.
Girvan said he was responsible for the lead vehicle in Saturday’s caravan, a pickup truck which included a life-size Trump mannequin with a Pinocchio-sized nose riding in the flatbed. The New Jersey Working Families Alliance was also a lead organizer of the event.
Trump had no public events scheduled Saturday, and aides said little about how he spent a day that, unlike Friday, was dry enough for golf. The only advertised activity on Trump’s schedule was a planned early evening call with the president of Peru.
Apparently in response to critics who havee questioned his stay here, Trump took to Twitter early Saturday night to explain.
"The reason I am staying in Bedminster, N. J., a beautiful community, is that staying in NYC is much more expensive and disruptive," he write. "Meetings!"
Trump was in Manhattan for an event on Thursday night. He plans to return to the White House on Sunday.