A tour bus covered in pro-Donald Trump imagery seen at rallies and events across the country is for sale in Queen Creek. Price tag: $135,000.
Buddy Hall, a 61-year-old resident of Gulfport, Mississippi, is the owner of the bus, a 1999 Prevost Featherlite. He bought it in late 2018 for around $1 million because, as he put it, he "always wanted to get on the Trump train." Hall said he "buys and sells real estate" as his primary source of income.
"I wanted to get one like the president would have bought it," he told Phoenix New Times on Wednesday. "I could have bought an old Winnebago but that wouldn’t have been classy enough for him."
After designing the exterior wrap, which features the text "ALL ABOARD THE TRUMP TRAIN" and an image of Trump as a shirtless boxer, Hall and his daughter and grandson hit the road. They started at the White House in January 2019, then crisscrossed the nation, traveling to campaign stops and political events. They sold Trump swag from the bus, toured with Ricky Rebel, (a Trump supporter and former opener for Britney Spears), and hosted Donald Trump Jr. and his girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle, at a Trump event at Mount Rushmore on July 3, 2020, Hall said. The Craigslist post advertising the bus features a photo of Guilfoyle and Trump Jr. outside of the bus.
The Trump merchandise business was so good that Hall eventually set up a shop in Wickenburg he called the Trump Train Depot.
"I couldn’t keep it in stock long enough," he said of the Trump merch. "I was having my suppliers fly it directly to me."
Hall said that numerous Arizona Republicans used his bus as backdrops and attractions at various events, including Shelli Boggs, a former candidate for a seat on the Maricopa County Community College District's Governing Board, and Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb. He also linked up with Kelli Ward, chairwoman of the Arizona GOP, and met Kentucky Senator Rand Paul in Apache Junction.
"They just heard about it word-of-mouth," he said. "Somebody might have been organizing an event for Sheriff Lamb or Sheriff Joe and say, 'Hey you want to get this bus here, it draws a crowd.'"
Hall boasted that Congressman David Schweikert held "virtual town halls" in front of the bus on Fridays when it was parked at the Vu Bistro restaurant in Fountain Hills.
"People can call in on his webcam and ask questions, and then he would answer the questions," Hall said. "He would use the bus as a backdrop."
Hall seemed especially impressed that former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who Trump pardoned after he was convicted for defying a federal court order, invited Hall to come "hang out" with him in Fountain Hills last Spring. Gene Ho, Trump's personal photographer during the campaign, had been traveling with Hall at the time and wanted to interview Arpaio for his podcast.
"Sheriff Joe said, 'Come on up to my office,'" Hall said. "We just hung around his office."
Hall headed home for the holidays in December and put the bus on the market in January. He said he left the bus in Queen Creek with a "business that builds these types of buses" until it can be sold. The temporary lease for his store in Wickenburg has also ended.
But he plans to buy another bus soon.
"The intent was to always sell it after the election, take a break," he said. "In 2021 I’m going to buy another one and wrap it in 'Trump 2024' and start promoting for the 2022 elections. I’m going to wrap it with Donald Trump senior and Donald Trump junior as vice president and I’ll put Ivanka Trump on it too."
He tells prospective buyers in the Craigslist post that they can do the same thing with his old bus.
"In 2021, you can go to all of the mid-term election states where Trump will be traveling to support Congress and Senate elections and sell a ton of merchandise," the listing reads, recommending changing the election year and to "put Don Junior as VP" on the bus.
When asked who he hoped would buy it, Hall said: "I would like to think that somebody rich, and there’s a lot of money out of Arizona. They might buy it and hold on to it and donate it to Trump’s presidential library and get a tax write-off or something."
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