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Trump celebrates 78th birthday in West Palm Beach as Rubio makes surprise appearance

Strategists on Trump's return to Capitol Hill
Political strategists on Trump's return to Capitol Hill for first time since Jan. 6 attack 08:57

West Palm Beach, Florida — Former President Donald Trump Friday night celebrated his 78th birthday in a packed Palm Beach Convention Center filled with supporters — including Republican Sen. Marco Rubio — while he continued his familiar attack lines on President Biden regarding immigration and foreign policy. 

"Under my leadership, we had no wars," Trump declared. "Instead of a globalist warmonger in the White House, you had a peacemaker at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue." 

The presumptive Republican presidential nominee seized on the arrests this week of eight Tajik nationals accused of having links to ISIS. Prior to their arrests, the men had crossed the U.S.-Mexico border without proper documents and were given notices to appear in immigration court, according to a senior Department of Homeland Security official.

"Our country has never been in danger like it's in danger right now. Just this week, ISIS arrested not one, not two, but eight suspected terrorists at the highest level of terrorism," Trump said. 

The birthday bash was hosted by Club 47, a Palm Beach-based Trump fan club. Tickets to the celebration — which were priced between $25 and $60 — sold out several days prior. 

Before his speech, Trump was presented with a six-tiered cake decorated with images of Trump and topped with a red MAGA hat in fondant. 

Donald Trump Speaks At Club47 In West Palm Beach, Florida
Former President Donald Trump stands near a birthday cake given to him before he spoke to members of the Club 47 group at the Palm Beach Convention Center on June 14, 2024, in West Palm Beach, Florida. Trump celebrated his 78th birthday during the event. Getty Images

It was a show of loyalty from Florida supporters and congressional allies for Trump about two weeks after he was found guilty in his Manhattan "hush money" criminal trial of 34 felony counts of falsifying business records. 

Also in attendance Friday was Rubio — who has been among those named as possible running mate for Trump, sources previously told CBS News. Rubio delivered a speech before Trump took to stage, also attacking Mr. Biden about the border. 

"We now have terrorists, criminals and drugs entering our country across the open border, and he invited them to enter the United States," Rubio said. 

Last week, however, the president issued an executive order which makes it easier for U.S. immigration officials to deport large numbers of migrants without processing their asylum claims.

This was Rubio's first time appearing on the 2024 campaign trail alongside Trump. It also came two days after the senator — in an interview with Telemundo — defended previous controversial comments from Trump in which he said that immigrants are "poisoning the blood of our country."

Marco Rubio
Sen. Marco Rubio speaks during a campaign rally for former US President and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at West Palm Convention Center, in West Palm Beach, Florida, on June 14, 2024. JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images

In Wednesday's interview, Rubio claimed Trump's comment was not really about race. 

"That's a saying that he uses, but it has nothing to do with race, because in the end, he's talking about the country, not the population," Rubio said. "The country is threatened by this influx of people, which we now know even includes criminals and terrorists." 

Trump could face legal barriers in selecting Rubio as his running mate, as both claim residency in Florida. The 12th Amendment of the Constitution stipulates that, under the Electoral College, "The Electors shall meet in their respective States, and vote by Ballot for two Persons, of whom one at least shall not be an Inhabitant of the same State with themselves."

The birthday celebration comes as concerns about the ages of Trump and Mr. Biden persist among voters. In 2016, Trump was at the time the oldest person elected to the presidency at the age of 70, a mark which was surpassed by Mr. Biden when he was inaugurated in January 2021 at the age of 78. If he were to be re-elected, Trump would surpass Mr. Biden as the oldest person inaugurated as president. 

Meanwhile, if reelected, Mr. Biden would be 82 at his inauguration, and 86 years old by the end of a second term. 

Trump seems to hold an edge over Mr. Biden among Americans concerned about the cognitive abilities of both, according to recent CBS News polling. Only a third of voters think Mr. Biden has the cognitive ability to serve, whereas half of voters think Trump does. 

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