Trump rages at Melania’s Mar-a-Lago renovations as he mulls post-White House future, report says

Josh Marcus
<p>US president Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump at Mar-a-Lago</p> (REUTERS)

US president Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump at Mar-a-Lago

(REUTERS)

The president was reportedly enraged at the end of this month, not by the more than 334,000 people who’ve died of coronavirus on his watch, but because of first lady Melania Trump’s renovations at his Mar-a-Lago, Florida, club, where he is expected to live post-presidency.

A dark mood fell over Mr Trump on a winter holiday at his members-only golf club in Palm Beach County, as soon as he saw the changes, CNN reported.

The renovations to his 3,000-square foot residence at the club, many overseen by the first lady, reportedly included white marble and dark wood that didn’t appeal to the president’s sensibility. So much so that he reportedly immediately called club management to complain.

The president, still in denial over his election loss and spreading conspiracy theories by the minute on Twitter, reportedly spent more time than usual behind closed doors and didn’t do his textbook schmoozing with guests at his favoured getaway.

The White House did not respond to a request for comment.

In addition to an election that didn’t go his way, the president also kicked off a political firestorm when he signed a limited bipartisan coronavirus relief bill over the weekend, then knifed members of his own party by demanding spending much larger than they had previously agreed to. On Tuesday, he said Republicans who went against him on the issue had a “death wish”.

Still, the new year’s party at Mar-a-Lago, where the president and his family are often guests, is reportedly going forward, with at least 500 reservations. A recent event in the Mar-a-Lago ballroom for the conservative student group Turning Point USA showed numerous attendees ignoring mask and social distancing rules.

More important than whether the president is in the mood to party by year’s end is the question of what he does once the Biden administration takes power on January 20. He will likely move to Florida, having legally switched his permanent residence to the state last year, and is reportedly looking for schools for his son Barron there.

If Mr Trump does move to Mar-a-Lago full time, it might violate a legal agreement he made to convert what was once a private residence into the members-only golf resort, because he would be living on a commercial property, a clause he’s flouted regularly during his presidency

With lawsuits and investigations looming, the president has a more daunting post-presidential future than any other US leader since Richard Nixon, who was preemptively pardoned. It is unlikely that Joe Biden would extend his predecessor the same courtesy.

Instead, speculation has run rampant that Mr Trump could engage in any number of ventures to cash in on the presidency. With legal fees on the horizon, Mr Trump’s main business, the Trump Organization, has taken a big hit because of coronavirus, and Forbes estimates the president lost nearly a billion dollars in net worth during the pandemic.

Despite repeatedly vowing on the campaign trail that if he lost, America would “never see me again,” the president has reportedly considered a 2024 run, a campaign that could kick off as early as January’s inauguration day.

Alternatively, the mercurial president has also threatened to simply stay in the White House. Other potential moves include returning to more direct management of the Trump Organization, giving paid speeches and rallies, writing a memoir, or investing in a conservative media outlet.

Whatever he decides, it better pay well, as Mr Trump has more than $400 million in loans, many personally guaranteed, coming due over the next four years, according to analysis by the New York Times.

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