President Donald Trump hosts his Chinese counterpart at Mar-a-Lago next week. It’s the second global — and Asian — leader the president brings to the Southern White House.
But this meeting may not be as amicable as the golf diplomacy with Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe. In fact, People’s Republic President Xi Jinping will not stay at Mr. Trump’s Palm Beach club but instead will spend the night in Manalapan.
Why? Well, Twitter may have something to do with it.
On the campaign trail, Candidate Trump frequently blasted the trade deficit with China, saying the People’s Republic was “ripping off” Americans via unfair trade and monetary practices. Those complaints worked their way into Mr. Trump’s Twitter missives.
Since his election as president on Nov. 8, Mr. Trump has not taken China to task on Twitter very often. He’s just fired off nine times.
But they’ve stung — in particular his defense of accepting a congratulatory call from the leader of China’s rival, Taiwan. Mr. Trump has also sharply criticized the PRC for inaction in dealing with provocative moves by North Korea.
In early January, China’s state-run news agency, Xinhua, lambasted President Trump’s “Twitter diplomacy” likening it to a “child’s game.”
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.