Donald Trump‘s Mar-a-Lago resort was the site of a New Year’s Eve celebration on Tuesday that included characters like Rudy Giuliani, who revealed he would testify in the president’s Senate impeachment trial. Outside of the Tuesday night party, the resort is a spot that Trump likes to frequent to get away from the White House, Politico reports.
According to a former White House official, Trump feels “liberated” when he’s at Mar-a-Lago.
“He doesn’t have the infrastructure of the White House to really deal with — you know how difficult it is to get somebody cleared into the [White House] complex. You don’t have those same concerns at Mar-a-Lago.”
When Trump spends time at the glitzy resort, he reportedly takes the time to interact with visitors and club members — people who would never be able to interact with him at the White House.
“There’s less staff around and he does as he sees fit,” another former White House official said.
“It’s a completely different environment and some people trying to meet him have figured out how to exploit that.”
According to Laurence Leamer, the author of Mar-a-Lago: Inside the Gates of Power at Donald Trump’s Presidential Palace, one of the perks of the resort for the president is that no one challenges him directly. Although Leamer says there were a few past members who took issues with Trump’s policies, they ultimately resigned over such differences.
“He can’t stand to be criticized or challenged. And when he asks you, ‘How am I doing?’ you just say ‘You’re doing great,’ that’s it, that’s what he wants to hear.”
Leamer compared Trump’s arrival at the resort to religious revival, noting that those who frequent the property are increasingly becoming the “true believers.”
— Scott Dworkin (@funder) January 1, 2020
Trump is reportedly known to spend Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve at Mar-a-Lago and has invited many prominent figures to join him, including controversial criminal lawyer Alan Dershowitz as well as Eddie Gallagher, the retired Navy Seal who the president controversially pardoned for war crimes.
During the recent New Year’s Eve party, Trump invited cameras inside and touched on politics, CNN reports. He suggested that the United States was prepared to destroy Iran if necessary. The comment came not long after protestors attacked the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, and Trump placed blame on Iran.
The president also attacked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who is currently holding on to two articles of impeachment in a political move that some suggest is effectively controlling the president’s state of mind.