President Trump shines the spotlight on Palm Beach when he leaves the White House to travel south to his part-time home, Mar a Lago, as he did last weekend.
In fact, “a big group went to the Seagate Hotel in Delray Beach because they didn’t want to deal” with the traffic and the hassle of Palm Beach, Greene said.
The Secret Service effectively closed off a portion of Palm Beach near Mar a Lago during the weekend while Trump was in town. West Palm Beach wasn’t much better on Saturday: Trump protesters clogged the waterfront along Flagler Drive.
Other Palm Beach businesses, including some restaurants, lost reservations, too, said Greene, a Palm Beach resident who lives at 1200 S. Ocean Blvd., “two doors down” from Mar a Lago, which is at 1100 S. Ocean Blvd.
(In truth, these are very big doors: The property just south of Mar a Lago is the Bath and Tennis Club, followed by Greene’s $24 million oceanfront estate.)
Laurel Baker, executive director of the Palm Beach Chamber of Commerce, said she’s aware some tourists were having a hard time getting back to their Palm Beach hotels with the security checkpoints and roadblocks.
And shopping on Worth Avenue? Some tourists were afraid to try: “People don’t want to be inconvenienced. They’ll shop elsewhere,” she said.
Baker said she’s now wondering how life in the future will be affected by Trump’s visits to Palm Beach.
For instance: The Palm Beach Boat Show, set for March 23-26.
Although the actual show only lasts a weekend, the set up takes considerably more time. The week before and the week after, a number of yachts cruise into the Intracoastal and go right by Mar a Lago.
If Trump were to fly down to Palm Beach during this time period, boats would be forbidden from cruising on the eastern side of the Intracoastal Waterway that runs near Trump’s “winter White House.”
Baker said she figured with Mar a Lago booked for 25 events this season, Trump was going to skip his winter visits because of the tight security that surrounds him.
But that’s evidently not going to be the case, she said.
In fact, Trump now is expected to visit Palm Beach again this coming weekend.
Greene noted that Trump likes spending all holidays, such as Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s, at Mar a Lago, as well as his winter visits. “He loves it here,” Greene said.
So being president of the United States won’t change Trump’s routine.
Going forward, Greene said Palm Beach officials and the Secret Service need a better plan: “You can’t shut down a town for four to eight years,” he said.
Indeed, even into Monday morning, before Trump left for MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, getting around still was difficult.
Greene said it took him 45 minutes to cross the bridge Monday to take his son to school in West Palm Beach.
One bright spot to the weekend: Greene said he lives close enough to Mar a Lago to skip the traffic when he attended the Red Cross ball Saturday night.
“I walked,” he said.