Donald Trump has made headlines since his inauguration for the considerable amount of time that he’s spent in his Mar-a-Lago mansion in Palm Beach, Florida. The president’s three trips to the Florida resort have reportedly cost taxpayers a total of $10 million, with more trips planned in the near future. But how much does membership to the exclusive club cost?
According to the New York Times, the managing director of President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club in Florida has said that Trump’s presidency “enhances” membership at the exclusive club, claiming that more people than ever are interested in joining. However, Bernd Lembcke also expressed that the club will now be even more careful in vetting potential new members, who still need to be introduced by a current member to be considered. Likely because club membership also awards exclusive access to the president.
The annual membership fee for the club was reportedly recently doubled to $200,000 following the presidential inauguration of one of its members, Donald Trump. The considerable hike in membership fees is said to be because of increased interest in the club, where President Trump spent three weekends since his inauguration in January.
Whilst the resort has always offered a haven for the rich and powerful to unwind, it’s now become an even more attractive destination following Donald Trump’s inauguration. According to Town and Country, on any given weekend, the president’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and his chief strategist, Steve Bannon can be found relaxing by the pool at Mar-a-Lago, whilst remaining completely accessible to members looking voice their opinions to President Trump. Despite the White House’s claims that this isn’t the case.
During his own three trips to the so-called winter White House, President Trump has entertained a foreign head of state, health care industry executives and other presidential guests. That being said, the president also spends a good deal of time talking with fee paying members of the exclusive Florida club.
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At current, the club is believed to have nearly 500 paying members, comprising of dozens of real estate developers, Wall Street financiers, energy executives, all who own businesses that could be affected by the president’s policies. In fact, three of those members are said to be under consideration for ambassadorships.
Some of the club’s members include William I. Koch, who heads up a major mining and fuels company, along with billionaire trader Thomas Peterffy, who once famously spent more than $8 million on ads warning against socialism. That being said, Koch, Peterffy, and many others were members at the club long before Trump’s presidency, however, there are a limited number of memberships still available, which the club obviously believes it won’t have trouble filling after raising membership fees to $200,000.
However, there’s still a key problem for Mar-A-Lago in that it wasn’t designed to be a presidential retreat. According to Politico, after Trump spent his third weekend at the resort, photos surfaced on social media of the president dealing with a North Korean missile crisis on the dining terrace. Subsequently, the club has been forced to issue new rules prohibiting pictures or videos of the president when he’s on the premises in order to ensure pictures don’t emerge online again of the president dealing with national security matters.
That being said, as aforementioned, with nearly 500 members having access to the club, keeping it closed to the outside world whilst the president is in residence is always going to be difficult.
[Featured Image by Getty Images/Joe Raedle]