Unlike other presidents, Donald Trump owns a sizable real estate company, whose holdings include the Florida resort known as Mar-a-Lago. Trump’s spent a good deal of time on the property since taking office, and, according to a new piece in Vanity Fair, that time has been taken up by instances of bizarre behavior like the president insisting on “ducking his security detail while he was in his home.” At Mar-a-Lago, the president’s “home” is “a large suite overlooking the pool in the main mansion,” which is situated right alongside the path from the club’s main entrance to the grand ballroom.
Secret Service agents who had to tag along with Trump on his ventures to Florida and through Mar-a-Lago reportedly demanded at one point that guests at the club take the long way to the grand ballroom in order to stay away from the door to Trump’s residence. Eventually, however, they agreed to allow guests to pass by as long as the president was not actively coming or going at the residence at the time. That, however, does not mean that the president didn’t find a way to freely interact with his club’s patrons anyway — one guest explains that at one point, he abruptly emerged from his door like “Mr. Clean” in order to greet them.
The Vanity Fair piece — which was excerpted from a book called The Grifter’s Club — explains:
“One evening after Trump became president, a Mar-a-Lago member and her husband were walking past his rooms on the way to an event when Trump suddenly stuck his head out the door. “There was nobody around him,” the Mar-a-Lago member said. “He just jumped in front of us like Mr. Clean and said, ‘Hi, folks.’”
That’s far from an isolated instance. While at Mar-a-Lago, White House staff seem to have quickly learned that the president was determined on getting his way to the point that he would decide on where he’d be sitting at the club, whether or not that lined up with the security protocols that the administration had established. Thus, the Vanity Fair piece explains, it “wasn’t long before the White House started calling Mar-a-Lago staff to find out where the president was going to sit during his visits to the club.” This nonsense is what the administration has been spending some of its energy on — following along with and having to adapt to the unhinged whims of Donald Trump.
The examples go on. As has been documented elsewhere, Trump has been known to involve club guests in government matters, soliciting their opinions about the issues at hand as if they’re in any way qualified.
On other instances, the Vanity Fair piece notes, Trump “would run outside the ranks of his Secret Service detail to greet someone he recognized in the crowd,” as if he entirely failed to grasp the actual gravity of his position as president. On other occasions while president, Trump has broken with norms through other means, like a reported instance in which he flipped out in the club’s kitchen when he found it “filthy.” This, apparently, has been a priority for the president — dirty kitchens. Meanwhile, Americans are suffering.