Meanwhile, President and First Lady Melania Trump are renovating their private quarters in Mar-a-Lago in preparation for a permanent return. And looking ahead to their political future, Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump have reportedly bought a multi-million dollar property in an exclusive part of Miami. The Trump kids plan to spend more time in Palm Beach unless Eric’s wife, Lara Trump, is running for the North Carolina Senate, according to a family member.
Taken together, the moves will inevitably make the Palm Beach and Florida area a zero point for the MAGA movement, and allow Trump convenient access to potential donors and some of his most dedicated allies as he plans a potential comeback offer in 2024. Unlike previous presidents like Barack Obama and George W. Bush, who quietly entered their post-presidencies and spent time working on their books or collecting oil paintings, Trump is expected to step into his next chapter by speaking holding on to his political base with the help of his family, antagonizing the Biden administration on Twitter and holding MAGA events. Supporters will continue to flock to Palm Beach, even as it affects many longtime residents who view their locale as a quiet enclave above politics and are battling the president for a permanent move to Mar-a-Lago.
“You see a lot of conservative influencers talking about Florida, and it creates an environment where … people are looking for safe havens for their ideology to manifest in the world around them,” said Blair Brandt, a Palm Beach-based political advisor and Republican fundraiser who co-chaired the Florida finance department for Trump’s re-election campaign.
The anticipated move of the president to Palm Beach is part of a broader movement of prominent Trump-supportive Republicans to travel south to Florida. According to BloombergPalm Beach property inventory has fallen 75 percent due to high demand, and the island’s exclusive clubs like Trumps Mar-a-Lago have long lasted Waiting lists.
Several Trump allies and prominent Conservatives have recently moved to South Florida – including Conservative commentator Ben Shapiro, who moved from Los Angeles, and Fox News star Tucker Carlson, who is legally resident in Florida. Radio host Rush Limbaugh has a home in Palm Beach, and Trump-friendly Newsmax, run by Chris Ruddy, a longtime friend of Trump’s, is based in West Palm Beach.
Trump has long reveled in the attention he received at his Mar-a-Lago club, which has become a fan-pass spot and a place where allies of the president can see and be seen. Last week, Turning Point USA hosted its black tie gala at the resort – a who’s who of Trumpworld. White House officials like Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany took selfies with maskless young fans.
On his last visit, however, the president did not mingle with the guests as he had in the past and, according to a club member, stayed mostly to himself. Some members have spent $ 1,200 on New Years Eve gala tickets at the club in hopes of catching a glimpse of the president and first lady and being entertained by ’90s rapper Vanilla Ice. However, they were disappointed when the president suddenly decided to return to Washington early for some reason Unknown.
As his tenure expires, the expanded Mar-a-Lago neighborhood is widely expected to become the new home for the Trump movement in exile.
Trump “adds a much more lasting star quality there,” said former White House press secretary and Newsmax host Sean Spicer. “The idea that Florida Republicans have good access to the president is a big deal. Having the president’s star power is a big deal, and Palm Beach is already a huge fundraising destination for Republican candidates. “
Brandt noted that his fundraiser job linking wealthy Palm Beach Conservatives to the Republican Party will get a welcome jolt with Trump nearby.
“He will turn the power of the presidency into a political machine that no one has done in Trump’s way before,” Brandt said. “But having someone like Trump who is an operator and has something to do could have a huge impact on Republican fundraising.”
But while Florida GOP activists love to orbit near the new center of the Republican universe, many longtime residents roll their eyes. While they breathe a sigh of relief that road closures will end the congestion, they are concerned about what Trump’s permanent presence could mean – including a potential presidential library and museum that could become a tourist destination for the MAGA world. A Trump advisor even envisioned some sort of Trump-themed amusement park.
“I fully understand why he and his entire family want to be in Florida,” said Matthew Swift, a Palm Beach resident and founder of the non-partisan Concordia Summit. “The President is incredibly popular here,” he noted, but added, “People are sure to be curious how it will work out with the development of a presidential library and any other center the President wants to develop.”
No matter what, Trump will still have a Secret Service detail, but not the kind of security footprint – with barriers and no-fly zones – that a seated president brings.
Before Trump officially moved to Palm Beach, some potential neighbors had raised concerns about his full-time living in his “Winter White House,” claiming he had agreed not to use the club as a full-time residence. In the past, the president has argued with the city over airplanes flying over the club and is expected to come into contact with the community about using his helipad on the property.
Several people close to Trump said that despite renovations at the club, due to the small size of his Mar-a-Lago room, he may be looking for other properties in Palm Beach and expecting to buy a separate home on the island.
Still, some Palm Beach residents, even those who support Trump, say at the end of the day that nothing is really going to change.
“Palm Beach has always been a place above politics, if you will. It’s not about Democrats or Republicans or Rush Limbaugh or whatever, ”said Guido Lombardi, a Mar-a-Lago member and Palm Beach resident. “Some people here care about the personalities they should shake hands with.”