Each weekend, Donald Trump packs up his things and heads down to the Trump branded property in Palm Beach, Florida known as Mar-a-Lago, where he is able to see his wife, Melania, who lives in New York during the week while he lives in Washington, D.C., and play a round or two of golf. Trump has gone to his Mar-a-Lago resort for the 8th consecutive weekend, at a cost of $3.3 million a pop, which is raising eyebrows, and causing even some in him own party to ask why he can’t stay in Washington with everyone else doing the work of government.
At a recent press conference, Sean Spicer says that Trump doesn’t see anything wrong with heading to Florida each weekend, and sticking the people with the bill.
“The president wanted to be here last weekend, he wants to be here this weekend, he’ll be here, and then I’ll have updates on where he’ll be going going forward.”
As a follow-up, Spicer was asked if Trump is concerned, or feels bad that people are grumbling, and the answer is no.
“No, he feels great.”
But what does the American public really know about Trump’s Mar-a-Lago? What makes it so special? The story of Mar-a-Lago starts in 1927, when cereal heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post, at the time, one of the world’s richest women, finished building a 128 room mega-estate she named Mar-a-Lago.
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In 1973, Post donated Mar-a-Lago to the United States government, so that it could be used as what she called a “Winter White House.” And even though the government found the upkeep too expensive, and sold the estate, to Donald Trump, it ironically fulfilled the dream in a way of Marjorie Merriweather Post.
Mar-a-Lago and its twenty acres are situated perfectly, with the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Florida’s Intracoastal Waterway on the other. The estate was named a National Historic Landmark in 1980, just five years before Donald Trump came on the scene with an interest in buying the biggest, and potentially flashiest property in Palm Beach.
And ever since, Trump has been happy to brag, and also stretch the truth about his second home on twenty acres of paradise in Florida.
“I have 24 acres in Palm Beach and nobody has anything like that. A big house is on one acre. I have 24. It’s the great estate of Palm Beach.”
But even though Donald Trump now loves Mar-a-Lago, and considers it his home, after getting into a financial scrape, he turned the home into a club with a $100k initiation fee, plus $14k in annual dues, according to Vanity Fair. But the story of Trump’s hunt and capture of Mar-a-Lago is still one of his favorites to tell, because from the first time he saw the property, which was considered by most to be a white elephant, he knew it would be his.
After the United States government during the Carter administration gave Mar-a-Lago back to Mrs. Post’s heirs, actress Dina Merrill (from Mrs. Post’s second marriage, to stock-brokerage founder E. F. Hutton) and her half-sisters, Adelaide Breevort Close and Eleanor Post Close (from their mother’s first marriage, to stockbroker Edward Bennett Close), the daughters decided to put it on the market, according to longtime Trump butler, Anthony Senecal, who had worked for Post as a footman for years.
“Adelaide said, ‘I’m not going to put another dime of my own money into this place, and we’ll just sell it as is. And Dina Merrill said, ‘O.K., well, I’m with you,’ and then the other daughter said, ‘Well, yeah, I’m with you, too.’ ”
Donald Trump’s first offer was rejected, but Trump being Trump, he decided to play hardball, and bought two acres along the beach to force the hand of the Post heirs. He threatened the sisters that he was going to build a large, ugly home on those two acres, and block the water and beach view from Mar-a-Lago with a large wall.
“That was my first wall. That drove everybody nuts. They couldn’t sell the big house because I owned the beach, so the price kept going down and down.”
But getting Mar-a-Lago, complete with furnishings wasn’t enough, and Trump went public to throw some shade on Post daughter, Dina Merrill, who Trump insists snubbed him.
“Mrs. Post’s arrogant and aloof daughter, who was born with her mother’s beauty but not her brains.”
When Merrill was told of Trump’s comment, she brushed it off to a reporter.
“How lovely. He’s a charming man, isn’t he?”
WATCH: Trump Remains Unconcerned about Costs of Mar-a-Lago Trips https://t.co/OejmJjlNrW… pic.twitter.com/R00i23nidE
— CitizenSlant (@CitizenSlant) March 29, 2017
Donald Trump has gone on to have a tenuous relationship with the old guard of Palm Beach, which some say started when he wasn’t asked to join the prestigious Bath and Tennis Club, but Trump says that it is “utter bulls**it,” saying that he didn’t want to join the exclusive club anyway.
“They kiss my ass in Palm Beach. Those phonies! That club [the Bath and Tennis] called me and asked me if they could have my consent to use part of my beach to expand the space for their cabanas! I said, ‘Of course!’ Do you think if I wanted to be a member they would have turned me down? I wouldn’t join that club, because they don’t take blacks and Jews.”
But others said that the Bath and Tennis Club blackballed Trump, who grew up in Queens, and was considered to be “very new money.”
Over the years, Donald Trump has had other conflicts with the other clubs, and the Palm Beach government, and from time to time, he has threatened lawsuits. But no matter the conflict, there seems like no other place that Trump would rather be.
Do you think that Donald Trump should personally incur the cost of traveling back and forth to Mar-a-Lago with a team of Secret Service agents each week? Do you think that it is a conflict that the Trump family is making even more money, raising fees at Mar-a-Lago now that Donald Trump is president?
[Featured Image by Carlo Allegri/Getty Images]