“Everyone here is simply stunned and the universal cry is ‘We are now a third-world country!’” Juliette de Marcellus, a long-time Palm Beach resident who stayed in town this summer, emailed me. The day before, dozens of FBI agents and three Justice Department attorneys raided (or “searched,” as the servile legacy media put it) the home of our island community’s most famous resident, former President Donald J. Trump.

Palm Beach slows down considerably in the summer, though the first two years of the pandemic saw many residents and visitors stick around rather than face crime and...

“Everyone here is simply stunned and the universal cry is ‘We are now a third-world country!’” Juliette de Marcellus, a long-time Palm Beach resident who stayed in town this summer, emailed me. The day before, dozens of FBI agents and three Justice Department attorneys raided (or “searched,” as the servile legacy media put it) the home of our island community’s most famous resident, former President Donald J. Trump.

Palm Beach slows down considerably in the summer, though the first two years of the pandemic saw many residents and visitors stick around rather than face crime and Covid in northern locales. This year, the Island’s annual season petered out around May 1, with restaurant reservations and parking spots suddenly opening up and traffic noticeably thinning out. The last parties and dinners were dominated by discussions of people’s summer plans elsewhere, with the town’s run-of-the-mill gossip, scandals and feuds placed on hold until the fall. Trump went north later in May, as he usually does, to spend the summer at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey.

Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s Palm Beach private club and official residence, closes for the summer, leaving only a small staff, a reduced Secret Service detail and occasional personal visitors to populate it in the off-season. When the FBI raid came, they were stunned to see the feds massed at the property’s gates on South Ocean Boulevard. They brought a search warrant signed by Judge Bruce E. Reinhardt, who is himself not without a Palm Beach connection. Prior to his judicial appointment, Reinhardt served as a defense attorney for criminally charged employees of Jeffrey Epstein, another former Palm Beach resident. Reinhardt’s contact information has been removed from the Southern District of Florida’s judicial website, but research by the Daily Wire reveals that he openly disparaged Trump during his presidency and contributed to Barack Obama and other Democrats.

Ostensibly looking for official documents that Trump failed to transfer to the National Archives at the end of his presidency, the FBI agents reportedly searched Melania Trump’s wardrobe, cracked Trump’s private safe, seized documents that were unrelated to their warrant, and refused to allow their nine-hour operation to be observed by Trump’s attorneys, who were not allowed to remain inside the house on a day when temperatures exceeded 90 degrees.

The drama has rallied Trump’s adopted hometown, where he arrived in 1985 as a brash outsider who ruffled feathers with his outré New York demeanor and butted heads with the town over various legal, property, and tax issues. As recently as 2020, he had to argue before the town that he had a legal right to declare Mar-a-Lago his official residence.

The only local newspaper, the Palm Beach Daily News — known as the “Shiny Sheet” due to its high-quality, smudge-free paper — felt compelled to point out that Mar-a-Lago is one of the Island’s most secure and lavish places. “The structure is anchored deep into the coral stone below it and has walls three-feet thick in some places,” the “Shiny Sheet” admiringly reported. It added that if the FBI agents entered through the main entrance, “they would have passed through an arch with a wrought-iron grille glass door and into the entrance hall, with its antique Havemeyer tiles, Spanish lanterns and coats of arms” before reaching “the living room, with its stately fireplace and soaring gilt-covered ceiling.” Washington is not known for its sense of style, but maybe even its coarse minions stopped to take in an admiring glance of the opulence.

The locals may not have needed much encouragement to support their new favorite son. In both 2016 and 2020, the town went for Trump by about two-thirds, making it a literal island of red in the blue sea of Palm Beach County. “Most of those I know make the comment that it will make the return of Trump inevitable,” de Marcellus wrote, “The obvious ‘weaponizing’ of the FBI, and creating a drama for the media, has everyone shaking their heads, here as elsewhere.”

On the evening following the raid, a pro-Trump crowd gathered at Mar-a-Lago. Some even camped out overnight to protest what many in the area agree is his victimization by what Trump has called “prosecutorial misconduct” by the Justice Department aimed at preventing his 2024 comeback. “This is not Russia, this is not Venezuela, this is not China,” a supporter declaimed. She stood alongside dozens of others bearing the usual “Make America Great Again” signs as well as such newer innovations as “Make Votes Count Again,” “In Trump I Trust,” and “Joe Biden Sucks.” According to the Daily Mail, the town police put out a request asking neighboring law enforcement agencies to be on the lookout for protesters who might be armed.

Palm Beach, where a local ordinance recently extended the morning hours during which “hooting” and “phonograph playing,” among other activities, are prohibited, is as averse to intrusion as it is to noise. Last December, the Island was scandalized by another federal law enforcement raid, carried out by FBI and IRS agents on chic Worth Avenue’s Danieli Gallery, whose owner Daniel Bouaziz (who claims to be a “semi-retired French-Israeli opera singer”) was indicted last month for fraud and money laundering in connection with the alleged sale of forged works of art. In true Palm Beach fashion, however, the raid was quickly forgotten. The gallery reopened the same day, with Bouaziz ushering out journalists from the “Shiny Sheet” who approached him for comment. On the evening of the raid, he was seen drinking and socializing at the bar of the elegant Palm Beach Yacht Club surrounded by people who knew all about his mishap but tactfully said nothing.

The raid on Mar-a-Lago is an outrageous abuse of power, making America look like what Trump’s putative 2024 rival Florida governor Ron DeSantis called a “banana republic” in response. But the former president can look forward to a discreet warm welcome when he returns later this year, likely with some encouraging news about his future plans.