Presidential footprint in Palm Beach County

How Mar-a-Lago became a symbol in politics
Posted at 12:13 PM, Nov 03, 2020

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

It’s worth taking a look back at how Mar-a-Lago came to become the “Winter White House.” A political symbol, not only in the county, state, or country, but in the world.

“Mar-a-Lago was built by Majorie Merriweather Post, the heir to the Post cereal fortune,” said Crowley. “It was built in the 1920’s. When she died in the 70’s, she willed it to the federal government, hoping it would be a retreat for the President.”

But, it sat vacant.

“Donald Trump came along, and in the early 80’s, started making bids to buy Mar-a-Lago, and it’s gone much further than Marjorie Merriweather Post would have ever dreamed. It’s definitely a Presidential retreat now,” he said.

Looking back, Crowley said Trump’s early days at the club gave people hints at what President Trump would look like.

“He fought with the town over how high a flag pole he could put up, he fought with the county over the airport, because he hated the fact Mar-a-Lago is on the take off and landing,” said Crowley. “It sort of set the tone of the kind of guy he might be as President. Always fighting with the government, always challenging what they were doing.”

The Southern White House also shedding light on our area.

“When you look at the rest of Palm Beach County, especially the further west you go, where there is a great deal of poverty, you get a distinct difference that is being aired out in this political year between the haves and have nots, and Palm Beach County incorporates all of that.”

A once quiet resort, now a hot spot for politics. It’s a place where heads of state have come to visit. Political rallies on both sides of the aisle lining both sides of the street. It’s also responsible for the birth of the boat parade.

“On many weekends, you will find hundreds of voters, who will sail from Jupiter to Mar-a-Lago as their end point, waving Trump banners and trump flags, showing overwhelming support for Trump,” said Crowley. “Mar-a-Lago for them has become a symbol as the Palm Beach County White House.”

The President is now a Florida resident and voted in West Palm Beach this election. Kevin Wagner, an FAU professor of political science, said that spotlights this area even more.

“Presidents usually do pretty well in their home states, and part of it is from what we called earned media, that they are visible often seen in their home states,” he said. “Supporters of the President probably think that the spotlight on Palm Beach County is great. For many democrats, they probably don’t think it is as wonderful.”