Donald Trump did his best (and then some) to dispute the legitimate results of the 2020 election. His repeated claims of a fraudulent election led to the deadly January 6 domestic terror attack on the U.S. capitol, when Trump followers tried to overthrow the government. But democracy held firm and Joe Biden was sworn in as president on January 20. Trump had no choice but to leave the White House and find a new place to live.
The question soon became where, exactly, would Trump live? He is persona non grata in his actual home state of New York. Perhaps because of this, he decided to permanently live at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida after his presidency.
As luxurious as Mar-a-Lago is, it still feels like a big step down from kicking it in the White House. So, what is Trump’s actual life like at Mar-a-Lago? We’ve got the full scoop.
Arriving in Palm Beach
You might expect Donald Trump to return to Mar-a-Lago in shame. In the last year of his presidency, he repeatedly dismissed the seriousness of COVID-19 as it killed hundreds of thousands of Americans. And as part of his attempt to dispute the 2020 election results, he incited supporters at a rally to attack the United States capitol on January 6.
However, Trump experienced nothing less than a hero’s welcome when he returned to Mar-a-Lago on January 20, skipping Biden’s inauguration. The Miami Herald reports that Trump was greeted by cheering crowds, many of whom wore clothing and waved flags supporting Trump.
The supporters even threw Trump an impromptu parade, though this seems like a sad shadow of the military send-off Trump requested of the Pentagon. They quickly denied this request.
Trump’s private castle
Since Trump became president, he has transformed Mar-a-Lago into a castle designed to keep him safe.
This castle doesn’t have a literal moat. But it does have a host of security features. Page Six reported in January 2019 that it takes at least 30 minutes to get through security. And at the height of Trump’s presidency, the residence was patrolled by a small army of Secret Service workers. Trump still gets Secret Service protection for life.
So, what does he do all day at Mar-a-Lago? In lieu of being able to tweet since being banned from Twitter, Trump now contents himself by sharing missives from his newly-created Office of the Former President.
Backlash from locals
Trump may have encountered cheering crowds when he arrived back in Palm Beach. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of local residents who want to send him packing.
The city of Palm Beach is trying to evict Trump on the basis of a 1993 agreement he signed. Basically, as the Sun-Sentinel reports, when Trump converted Mar-a-Lago from a residence to a club, he agreed that nobody could stay there more than a week at a time or more than 21 non-consecutive days per year.
Trump turning the place into his home is a clear violation of that agreement. While this issue is under review, Palm Beach is removing Trump’s name from key buildings. And residents at the West Palm Beach condo “Trump Plaza” voted to change the complex’s name to “The Plaza” after the siege of the U.S. Capitol that Trump helped incite.
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Palm Beach sends a message
For Palm Beach, it was a pretty big deal that Trump wanted to move to Mar-a-Lago permanently. And it looks like they may be getting some ideas from Trump’s previous home city of New York.
After the attack on the U.S. Capitol that left several people dead, New York City canceled all of its contracts with the Trump Organization. This included everything from golf courses to the iconic Central Park Carousel. According to The New York Times, those contracts were worth $17 million per year.
Moreover, The Palm Beach Post reported in Jan. 2021 that Palm Beach is looking to end business relationships with Trump, including canceling the Trump International Golf Club contract. It may be difficult or even impossible to do so.
In the meantime, one resident contented himself by hiring a skywriting plane with a simple message for Donald Trump: “Trump you pathetic loser go back to Moscow.”
Family close by
The idea of Trump spending the rest of his life hidden inside Mar-a-Lago makes it seem like he would get lonely. But that is not likely, as many members of his family look like they are following him to Florida.
Trump’s oldest daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner are building a home on Miami’s exclusive Indian Creek Island, after purchasing a $32 million lot of land in December.
Meanwhile, Trump’s first son Donald Trump Jr. and his girlfriend Kimberley Guilfoyle bought a $9.7 million home in Jupiter, Florida in April. The property is just a 20-minute drive away from Mar-a-Lago.
Even Donald’s youngest daughter Tiffany Trump is moving to Florida. In January, Page Six reported she was staying at a hotel in Miami while looking to buy property of her own in South Beach. Both Trump daughters will live about a two-hour drive away from Mar-a-Lago.
The future of Mar-a-Lago
It’s almost impossible to separate the Mar-a-Lago brand from Donald Trump’s own brand. But how is the resort actually doing? It depends on whom you ask.
According to writer Laurence Leamer, the club is becoming kind of lonely and miserable. In January, he told MSNBC that it was a “very dispirited place” now that members are leaving left and right. And the reason they are leaving is because they don’t want to be associated with Donald Trump and his failing brand.
And in Leamer’s book Mar-a-Lago: Inside the Gates of Power at Donald Trump’s Presidential Palace, he writes that the actual club itself has experienced a drop in quality. He claims “the service is terrible” and “the food is no good.”
However, relative to most businesses, Mar-a-Lago actually thrived in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. Fox Business claims that even though the Trump Organization revenue dropped 38% in 2020, Mar-a-Lago revenue actually jumped about 13%, from $21.4 million to $24.2 million.
More importantly, Trump has used the club to raise tens of millions of dollars per fundraising event. Considering that Trump is still playing a role in endorsing or censuring certain politicians, chances are the club will continue to generate quite a bit of profit for many years to come.