Donald Trump Is Bringing an All-Star Headliner to Mar-a-Lago
For all the drawbacks of the Trump presidency—the ever-present fear of global destabilization, the steady stream of attacks on the press, the abandonment of America’s commitments to combat climate change—there are some silver linings. Chief among them is Donald Trump’s access to some fairly marvelous real-estate holdings, and his willingness, as president, to open them up to his White House aides, Cabinet secretaries, and visiting dignitaries.
President Trump has turned Mar-a-Lago, his Palm Beach resort, into a Southern White House” filled with a veritable Who’s Who of the new Washington elite since he took office. Club members got to shake hands with Attorney General Jeff Sessions the weekend after he dominated headlines for his previously undisclosed meetings with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. They often rub elbows with Stephen Bannon, Wilbur Ross, and, before he resigned, Mike Flynn. When Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe came to the U.S. last month, the president graciously hosted him and his wife at the club, allowing guests to watch as they handled a sudden diplomatic crisis over dinner, as news of a North Korean missile launch landed during their salad course.
Trump’s impressive guest list and frequent appearances at the private club are among the reasons that a membership at Mar-a-Lago certainly helps justify the recently-doubled initiation fee of $200,000, not to mention all the local traffic headaches and money spent on security.
And it’s only just begun. Less than three months into his presidency, Trump is reportedly bringing a big headliner to him at his club. According to Axios, Chinese president Xi Jinping plans to join President Trump in Palm Beach on April 6, for a weekend of diplomacy under the Florida sun.
Lucky for Mar-a-Lago guests, who have been known to snap photos of the president at work and post tidbits of what they have paid six figures to witness, there will be much to observe. For Trump, who spent much of his campaign painting China as the reason why the U.S. “doesn’t win anymore,” swinging wide his gilded doors for President Xi is a way to thaw that icy treatment. Xi, who, in a speech at Davos, warned world leaders about the sort of nationalist agenda the Trump administration is pushing, gets the ear of a relaxed, at-home president. It is the latest sign of detente between the two, following Trump’s decision to publicly embrace the One China policy, and Beijing’s subsequent decision to publicly award the Trump Organization with dozens of trademark approvals for the Trump name in China.
The two won’t play golf, however, Axios noted, so there will be no way of knowing if China would, as usual, beat the U.S.