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Mar-a-Lago members are quitting because it's become a 'dispirited' place since Trump moved in: 'They don't like him'

'It's not what it was, they're walking away from him... even here, people don't like him'
UPDATED JAN 24, 2021
President Donald Trump's beachfront Mar-a-Lago resort (Getty Images)
President Donald Trump's beachfront Mar-a-Lago resort (Getty Images)

No longer a president of the United States, Donald Trump has taken up full-time residence at Mar-a-Lago, the resort and national historic landmark in Palm Beach, Florida. Built by cereal-company heiress and socialite Marjorie Merriweather Post, the estate was purchased by Donald Trump in 1985. Assuming the town council of Palm Beach decides not to enforce the 1993 agreement he signed barring anyone from making the club a permanent residence, it would seem that Trump will stay here for the foreseeable future.

But the former President's return has reportedly not been met with excitement by the club's wealthy members. Quite the contrary. Best-selling author and journalist Laurence Leamer who wrote ‘Mar-A-Lago: Inside the Gates of Power at Donald Trump's Presidential Palace’ told MSNBC that the mood at the resort is "dispirited," and people are canceling their memberships. "I've talked to a bunch of people the last couple of days," Leamer said. "A lot of people have quit Mar-a-Lago."

He said that members are leaving due to concerns that they might be featured in newspaper articles, adding that Trump's declining popularity has also turned off members. Leamer said, "They don't want anything to do with Donald Trump. Many of the members, they're not going there very often because it's a very dispirited place." He added, "It's a sad place for Trump to be hanging out. It's not what it was. They're walking away from him. Even here, people don't like him."

Outgoing US President Donald Trump waves to supporters (Getty Images)

Last year in December, next-door neighbors of Mar-a-Lago formally conveyed in a demand letter delivered to the town of Palm Beach and also addressed to the U.S. Secret Service, asserting that Trump lost his legal right to live at Mar-a-Lago because of the aforementioned agreement he signed in 1993. In the demand letter, a lawyer for the Mar-a-Lago neighbors said the town should notify Trump that he cannot use Mar-a-Lago as his residence. Making that notification would “avoid an embarrassing situation” if the outgoing president moves to the club and later has to be ordered to leave. 

“There’s absolutely no legal theory under which he can use that property as both a residence and a club,” said Glenn Zeitz, a Palm Beach homeowner who is against Trump taking residence there. “Basically he’s playing a dead hand. He’s not going to intimidate or bluff people, because we’re going to be there.”

An entranceway to President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort (Getty Images)

A Trump business organization spokesman who spoke on the condition of anonymity told The Washington Post last year that “There is no document or agreement in place that prohibits President Trump from using Mar-a-Lago as his residence.” But the agreement states that club members are banned from spending more than 21 days a year in the club’s guest suites and cannot stay there for any longer than seven consecutive days. Before the arrangement was sealed, a Trump attorney had assured the town council in a public meeting that his client would not live at Mar-a-Lago.

Trump has repeatedly attempted to change parts of his agreement. As per the Post, in 2018, he asked the town to waive a provision banning him from building a dock at the club, initially saying the Secret Service and local law enforcement officials needed the structure for his protection. The reasoning was later changed to say the dock was for private use by him and former first lady Melania Trump. Trump withdrew the dock request in early 2020.