From Newsweek, December 28, 2018
Thanks to a partial government shutdown over funding for his long-desired southern border wall, President Donald Trump will remain in Washington, D.C., for New Year’s rather than attend a party at his South Florida Mar-a-Lago Club.
Mick Mulvaney, the president’s incoming chief of staff, revealed the news Friday morning on Fox News morning show Fox and Friends, saying, “[Trump] canceled his plans for Christmas, now he’s canceled his plans for New Year’s.”
But one plan that won’t be stopped by the president’s canceled trip is that of a man who aims to transform his well-known Trump “Rat Truck” into a Trump “Rat Boat,” which he then intends to cruise up and down the waterways bordering Trump’s exclusive Florida club dubbed the Winter White House.
What we’re doing tomorrow is the maiden voyage, the dress rehearsal of the boat,” the Rat Truck’s owner, Claude Taylor, told Newsweek. "We’re going to be setting off on the Intracoastal Waterway...cruising to downtown Palm Beach, Flagler, under bridges, up past Mar-a-Lago and back from approximately 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday."
Taylor’s inflatable rat, which sports a cellphone in one hand, a suit, red tie and Trump-like hair, is no stranger to the streets of D.C. The roughly 13-foot inflatable rat has been paraded around the nation’s capital in the back of Taylor's specially altered 1970s Chevrolet pickup truck and has been seen near the White House, Trump’s D.C. hotel, Capitol Hill and the courthouse.
Taylor arrived in South Florida on Thursday, after bringing the deflated rodent on an Amtrak Auto Train from D.C., to determine where he will take the rat. He even started a crowdfunding effort to raise money for costs associated with the boat, transportation and lodging. As of Friday afternoon, 34 people had donated $700, well short of Taylor’s $5,000 goal.
Taylor is also the leader of the Mad Dog Political Action Committee, a group comprised of anti-Trump activists whose mission is to engage in “high-impact, high-visibility, non-violent activities to help bring about the impeachment and removal of Donald Trump.” The same group was responsible for the “Impeachment Now, Make America America Again!” billboard near Mar-a-Lago that can be seen by Trump’s motorcade when traveling on I-95, in addition to other anti-Trump billboards across the country.
After arriving on Thursday, Taylor positioned his Rat Truck overlooking the impeachment billboard near Mar-a-Lago that his PAC erected earlier this year for a picture.
Despite the president’s change of plans to ring in the new year from the White House, Taylor said he still plans to parade the rat around Mar-a-Lago and South Florida, by both land and sea.
“Our whole purpose was to get the rat down here and get it set up so that it can be ready in relatively short notice for when the president does eventually make it to Mar-a-Lago,” Taylor said. “I’ve got a storage facility to take the Rat Truck with the rat where I can just park it, fly back and wait until Trump eventually decides to go to Mar-a-Lago.”
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