Despite Neighbors’ Wishes, It Seems Like Trump Can Live at Mar-a-Lago
Two groups of legislators gathered on Tuesday to consider the fate of former president Donald Trump. One, of course, was the Senate at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., which began the second of Trump’s impeachment trials. The other was the Palm Beach Town Council, which met virtually to consider, among other matters, if Trump is legally permitted to live full time at his Mar-a-Lago estate.
Many long-time residents of the tony island community have objected to Trump’s presence there even before he was elected president in 2016, but those protestations became more forceful when Secret Service security protocols closed numerous streets in the town whenever Trump decamped to the 17-acre property. When Trump changed his legal address last year to 1100 S. Ocean Blvd. in Palm Beach some neighborhood residents formally petitioned the town council to bar his full time residence based on what they said is a provision in the 1993 agreement that granted Trump the right to transform the historic estate, built in the 1920s by Marjorie Merriweather Post, from a private residence to a private club.
During Tuesday’s council meeting Trump’s lawyer in Palm Beach said nothing in the agreement specifically bars Trump from residing at Mar-a-Lago, and Trump can live there under the town’s zoning rules because he is a “bona fide employee” of the social club.
“This guy as he wanders the property is like the mayor of the town of Mar-a-Lago if you will,” attorney John Marion told the town council. “He is always present. … He loves it there, and he loves the people that he sees there. He enjoys it. It is his home.” The former president’s duties include overseeing the property, evaluating employees, suggesting improvements, greeting guests, recommending events and reviewing and approving members, Marion said.
The town council did not vote Tuesday on the legal question of Trump’s residency at Mar-a-Lago, but council President Margaret Zeidman said, “It seems there is nothing … that would prohibit him from living in the owner’s suite.”
Nonetheless, some Palm Beach residents still do not want the former president as their neighbor. Philip Johnston, who represents a group called Preserve Palm Beach, told the council neighbors are concerned that Trump’s residency could spoil the exclusive island’s “genteel” atmosphere.
“We feel that this issue threatens to make Mar-a-Lago into a permanent beacon for his more rabid, lawless supporters,” Johnston said.