President Trump’s mansion Mar-a-Lago has been called his Southern White House (It’s in Florida). Trump himself has called it his Winter White House, perhaps to be more like the Russian emperors who used to live in winter palaces.
Closer to home, Mar-a-Lago is Trump’s equivalent of the Bush dynasty’s Kennebunkport compound and the Kennedy dynasty’s Hyannis Port compound.
Like these other private presidential residences, it’s a rival to Camp David, the official presidential retreat for US presidents.
Mar-a-Lago was never meant to play the outsized role it is playing today. When Trump was about to enter the White House, people thought the role of unofficial Camp David would be played by Trump Tower, New York.
Trump was so in love with his New York tower that would during the 2016 election season, he would copter back to it each evening after campaign visits outside New York. He’d do that, rather than lodge in a local hotel for the night.
But after he became president, he had his blow-up quarrels with the New York Times, New York City, New York State and the Clintons.
And all of a sudden, Trump’s love affair with New York faded. His Art Of The Deal days when he could never stop talking of anything New York came to a screeching halt.
That was how the crown was passed to Mar-a-Lago. Since then, Mar-a-Lago has become Trump’s alternate Camp David, hosting Heads of State and Government. World leaders like Japan’s Shinzo Abe, Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro and China’s Xi Jinping have been honoured guests at the property.
Some interesting facts about Mar-a-Lago:
- It isn’t just a house. It is also a historical landmark in Palm Beach, South Florida. Can you beat that. That’s a bit like having a World Heritage Site as your private home.
- It has 126-rooms, much like a royal palace. Fitting when you consider that before Trump became President, he used to call himself the closest thing to American royalty.
- The mansion has its own club, the Mar-a-Lago Club. This members-only club has guest rooms, a spa, and other hotel-style amenities.
- Its original owner, Majorie Merriweather Post bequeathed it to the National Park Service at her death. She expected that it would be used for state visits or as a sort of Winter White House. But, due to the huge costs of securing the 62,500-square-foot (5,810 m2) property, located in the flight path of Palm Beach Airport, it was returned to the Post Foundation by an Act of Congress in 1981. [Imagine that!?] It would be 36 years after this, under the ownership of its current owner, President Trump that Mar-a-Lago would fulfill its long-delayed destiny, hosting Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe.
Today, Russia’s former imperial Winter Palace hosts the Hermitage Museum. Possibly, after the Trump presidency, Mar-a-Lago could be crowned with a similar legacy, hosting The Donald J Trump Presidential Library.