As Melania Trump faces the end of her tumultuous time as first lady, she became the subject of a new report Tuesday that raises questions about where she and Donald Trump will eventually live.
It has long been believed that Melania Trump and the outgoing president would settle at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida. Melania had been overseeing renovations at the mansion although in late December, CNN reported that Trump was angry about the progress of expanding his 3,000-square-foot living quarters.
On Tuesday, the couple’s last full day in the White House, Newsweek reported that moving trucks were seen at Mar-a-Lago, presumably to unload their private belongings at the members-only private resort.
But it appears plans may have changed. The New York Times reported that Melania Trump has begun house-hunting in Florida.
After Trump’s Nov. 3 election loss to Joe Biden, Melania Trump was “in a state of shock” and joined her husband in making the false claim that he had actually won, the New York Times reported. As the weeks wore on, it was said the former model became “emotionally checked out,” even before a mob of her husband’s supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
Nonetheless Melania Trump has launched an ongoing search for a new home. The New York Times said the soon-to-be-former first lady was considering Jupiter, just north of Palm Beach, where her stepson, Donald Trump Jr., and his girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle, also were reported to be looking to buy a home.
It begs the question: If Donald and Melania Trump have the elegant and historic Mar-a-Lago available to them, why is she house-hunting in a nearby suburb?
Could it be, as unconfirmed rumors mentioned in the New York Times report, that Melania Trump has been living separately from her husband these past years, and that she never really moved into the White House, living, perhaps, in the Maryland suburbs with her 14-year-old son, Barron, and her Slovenian immigrant parents?
Or could it be that Melania Trump, knowing Mar-a-Lago isn’t suitable for the long-term, is looking for something bigger? The total area of the White House was 55,000 square feet, while their penthouse in Trump Tower in Manhattan was 11,000 square feet. The first couple also were widely reported to have maintained separate bedrooms in the White House residence and in Trump Tower.
Another issue that might have sent her scanning the “for sale” listings is that the Trumps are legally barred from living full-time at Mar-a-Lago. A West Palm Beach attorney, one of the area residents who opposes having the controversial couple as neighbors, sent a letter to the City of Palm Beach laying out the legal case for why they shouldn’t be allowed to live at Mar-a-Lago, Newsweek reported.
According to the letter, Trump lost his legal right to live fulltime at Mar-a-Lago because of an agreement he signed in the early 1990s when he was a financially strapped real estate developer and found that maintaining the historical estate as his private residence was costing him millions of dollars a year, the Washington Post reported.
Trump decided to convert Mar-a-Lago into a private, money-making club, but he signed an agreed that said that club members are banned from spending more than 21 days a year in the club’s guest suites and cannot stay there for any longer than seven consecutive days, the Washington Post said. Before signing the agreement, an attorney for Trump assured the town council in a public meeting that his client would not live at Mar-a-Lago.
It’s unknown whether Palm Beach city officials would try to enforce the agreement, but some residents are likely to press the issue, setting up “a potentially awkward scenario, unique in recent history, in which a former Oval Office occupant would find himself having to officially defend his choice of a place to live during his post-presidency,” the Washington Post said.
For the past four years, some Palm Beach neighbors have complained about clogged traffic and blocked streets caused by the president’s frequent trips to his private club, the Washington Post reported. He aggravated residents even before becoming president by refusing to comply with basic local requirements, such as adhering to height limits for a massive flagpole he installed, the Washington Post added.
If Melania Trump is house-hunting in nearby Jupiter, she could follow Trump Jr. and Guilfoyle’s lead and look to buy a home in “a very secure, guarded, protected community with like-minded conservatives,” as the New York Post reported. Another advantage of Jupiter is that it is the location of another of the family’s Trump-branded golf courses, the Trump National Golf Club Jupiter.
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