What's the future of Mar-a-Lago in post-President Trump era?

Palm Beach life could change with Trump moving to area
Mar-a-Lago, aerial picture from Chopper 5
Posted at 1:29 PM, Jan 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-15 17:22:38-05

PALM BEACH, Fla. — "Mar-a-Lago is now a political statement," said Brian Crowley, WPTV political analyst.

It's been called a presidential footprint on Palm Beach.

President Donald Trump is now set to make the resort his home as his term comes to an end and on the heels of all of the events that have unfolded in Washington, D.C.

The resort's path to becoming the so-called "Winter White House" is an interesting one.

"The once quiet resort has now become a hot spot for politics, and that is having a big impact on people in Palm Beach County, who either love him or hate Donald Trump," Crowley said.

The private club is a worldwide political symbol.

President Trump meets with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Mar-a-Lago April 17, 2018
In this April 17, 2018, file photo, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, center left, and his wife Akie Abe, left, President Donald Trump, center right, and first lady Melania Trump, right, walk to dinner at Trump's private Mar-a-Lago club, in Palm Beach, Fla.

"Mar-a-Lago was built by Majorie Merriweather Post, the heir to the Post cereal fortune," Crowley said. "It was built in the 1920s. When she died in the 1970s, she willed it to the federal government, hoping it would be a retreat for the president."

For some time, the property was vacant.

"Donald Trump came along and in the early 1980s, started making bids to buy Mar-a-Lago, and it's gone much further than Marjorie Merriweather Post would have ever dreamed," he explained. "It’s definitely a presidential retreat now."

During Trump's presidency, the resort became a place for heads of state to visit, political rallies took place along Southern Boulevard, and it became the destination of boat parades.

Mar-a-Lago for them has become a symbol as the Palm Beach County White House.

The future with President Trump residing on the island has some concerned about what that looks like from a non-political perspective.

State Rep. Omari Hardy
State Rep. Omari Hardy, D-West Palm Beach, called for Mar-a-Lago to be shut down after a maskless party was held New Year's Eve.

"I expect that the president will have lots of large gatherings that violate the CDC guidelines and violate our mask order. Absolutely," said State Rep. Omari Hardy, D-West Palm Beach, who voiced his concerns about a New Year's Eve party at the private club.

Earlier this month, Hardy sent a letter to Palm Beach County government asking that Mar-a-Lago be shut down following a maskless New Year's Eve party.

"I also expect to see the president here breaking our rules and really doing things that endanger the health and welfare of the residents of Palm Beach County," Hardy said.

On the private side, questions now arise about club membership.

"Does somebody still want to be a member of Mar-a-Lago?" said Crowley. "Does somebody still want to associate themselves with the name Donald Trump? It's a little bit like when Richard Nixon became a disaster. A lot of people didn't want to associate themselves with the name Richard Nixon. It is possible Trump went way too far, and people will not want to associate themselves with that name."