Donald Trump Has Never Sounded Like This

It was Super Tuesdayat Mar-a-Lago, and the people — his people — were feeling good. They had arrived around sundown, disgorged from a small fleet of buses and ushered into the grand ballroom. Some of them were old hands at this place, they explained with great pleasure. Others, first-timers, gawked visibly at the chandeliers the size of jet turbines, the gilded molding and the grape-dangling cherubs, all that marble and mirror.

Listen to this article, read by Robert Petkoff

“It’s not quite Versailles,” a county party chairman mused aloud, “but it’s the closest thing we have here.”

Screens around the room were tuned to Fox News, relaying word of one state primary triumph after another, and the mood was expansive. Forgiato Blow, a self-described “MAGA rapper,” was showing off a heavy Cuban link chain, from which dangled a lemon-size bust of the man we had all come to see. His face was rendered in solid gold. His diamond eyes peered out from beneath the brim of a red cap, the cap, emblazoned with his once and future promise to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN.

The man himself appeared at 10:14 p.m., strolling into the ballroom from somewhere in the private depths of the club. For a strange moment he stood there, alone and mostly unnoticed in the doorway, a ghost at his own party, before the music kicked in and he made his way to the stage.

He began with some thank-yous and superlatives, some reminiscences about his presidency and denunciations of the one that followed. Then he got down to business. “We’re going to win this election, because we have no choice,” Donald J. Trump told us. “If we lose this election, we’re not going to have a country left.” He said it in a tone he might have used to complain about the rain that had doused Palm Beach that weekend.

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