/Inside the Trump familys coddled new life in Florida

Inside the Trump familys coddled new life in Florida

  • Residents and local reporter Julia Echikson say the Trump family is laying low in Florida.
  • Don Jr. is moving into a $9.7 million mansion in Admirals Cove while Tiffany house hunts in Miami.
  • Angry neighbors in Palm Beach are resigned to seeing Donald Trump for at least half the year.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

When Donald Trump Jr. and his girlfriend, former Fox News host Kimberly Guilfoyle, made an offer in January for an $11 million, seven-bedroom, 12-bathroom baroque mansion overlooking the Florida Intercoastal waterway in the luxurious Admirals Cove gated community, 30 residents protested. 

They raised concerns about the publicity and politics of their new neighbors to the general manager of the property owners association. The former president’s son didn’t publicly comment on the dispute. The protests eventually dissipated, allowing the couple to close on their new house in March.

The entire Trump family has decamped to South Florida, attracted by the year-round golf and supportive political landscape. 

Father Donald Trump with his wife Melania and son Barron took up residence at his Mar-a-Lago resort in the uber-wealthy island community of Palm Beach for his first few months post-presidency. It’s since been announced that he’ll soon temporarily relocate to his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, to escape Florida’s hurricane season. It’s what he’s done for 20 years, Florida Republican operative Larry Casey told the Daily Mail — spend winters in Florida, then head north.

Daughters Ivanka and Tiffany, meanwhile, are settling in Miami. While Lara, the wife of brother Eric, has teased a possible senate run in her native North Carolina, the couple bought a $3.2 million mansion in March, a mere five miles from Don Jr.’s new quarters.

For a family that’s long loved the lime limelight and controversy, the strangest thing about the Trumps is how they’re keeping low profiles in their post-presidential homes. They settled in without making a fuss, eyeing real-estate opportunities and enjoying the Florida sunshine. Even their angry neighbors and political opponents in ritzy Palm Beach, initially frightened that the Trumps would disturb their exclusive paradise, are resigned to seeing them stay for at least half the year.

“I would not invite him [Donald Trump] to dinner: he’s terribly selfish and self-centered — and that doesn’t make for good company,” Palm Beach resident Michael Rubin, 78, who teaches architecture at a local college, told Insider. But he’s conscious of the fact that he can’t stop the former president from being his neighbor. To him, living a few miles away from the club is enough distance away from Trump: “I never have to go near Mar-a-Lago.”

The former president is helping calm potential tension by laying low. Visits from Republican leaders take place in private, behind the Mar-a-Lago’s fortress-like walls. Banned from Twitter, Trump is reduced to publishing occasional statements through his Save America PAC. Apart from a speech at CPAC in February, he’s held no news conferences in his new home. When he’s a guest on Fox News, he doesn’t even show his face, opting to call in. 

This week, the former president launched his own website to reach his supporters, while Facebook’s Oversight Board announced that it would uphold the suspension on his account, diminishing his reach among the American public. 

Trump ventures out of Mar-a-Lago only to play golf at his nearby Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, said a local who’s known the former president for decades. He doesn’t shop on Worth Avenue with its luxury boutiques or dine out at Palm Beach’s packed restaurants. 

His social life is limited to appearances at Mar-a-Lago parties. In March, the tuxedoed former president took the mike at a wedding celebration to bemoan his failed 2020 presidential bid.

The pomp and ceremony of the winter White House have vanished. Police no longer need to barricade the island’s main road, South Ocean Boulevard, which created traffic jams during his presidential stays. A few armed secret-service agents and club staff stand guard at the club’s two entrances, checking the occasional entering car. The hordes of Trump supporters, who greeted Trump during his presidency, are gone. These days, only a few camera-toting tourists gawk outside Mar-a-Lago. 

Last month, as cars quickly drove past, this reporter saw Trump Jr.’s girlfriend Guilfoyle stand in front of the club’s entrance unnoticed, without any adoring fans, peering droves of journalists, or photographers.

Opposition in town to the former president is fading. When neighbors petitioned to bar him, saying that Trump should not be able to use Mar-a-Lago as a private residence, the Palm Beach town attorney Skip Randolph backed the former president. The resort should be allowed to provide onsite housing for their employees, he wrote in a public letter, and Trump could be considered eligible as Mar-a-Lago’s president. 

During a public meeting, town council members were conciliatory. “It does not appear to me that there has been a violation,” council president Margaret A. Zeidman said. And just yesterday, Palm Beach Town Attorney John Randolph said he can live at at the resort because he’s a “bona fide employee,” not a guest. The town council “did not object” to Randolph’s decision. 

In many ways, the Trumps are a natural fit for Florida. The state voted for him in both the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections. It boasts two loyal Republican senators, a Trump-supporting governor, low taxes, and warm weather.

“Habitual liars have always done well here,” eighth-generation Floridian Diane Roberts, author of “Dream State: Eight Generations of Swamp Lawyers, Conquistadors, Confederate Daughters, Banana Republicans, And Other Florida Wildlife,” told Insider. She pointed to “dubious people” who settled in Florida, such as infamous gangster Al Capone, deposed Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza Debayle, and convicted felon O.J. Simpson.

Although Mar-a-Lago briefly closed in March after some of its staff came down with COVID-19, it’s back hosting parties. Outside the resort’s gilded gates, Palm Beach is open for fun and business, with eager buyers pushing up property prices. 

The average cost of homes in the town rose to $8.6 million, up from $7.5 million over the past year, according to a report by Sotheby’s International Realty. Even the Trumps are attempting to cash in: A family-owned seaside house across the street from Mar-a-Lago hit the market for $49 million — a $31 million jump from its 2018 purchase price.

Other Trump clan members are investing in Florida real estate. Daughter Ivanka and husband Jared Kushner bought a two-acre, $33 million lot on Indian Creek Island in Miami, nicknamed Billionaire Bunker. Fellow homeowners include billionaire investor Carl Icahn and American football legend Tom Brady and his supermodel wife Gisele Bündchen. 

While the Kushner couple presumably builds their new home, they’re renting a seaside apartment in one of Miami’s most expensive buildings, which has a 75-foot indoor pool, private rooftop, tennis court, fitness center, and children’s playroom. 

Like their old boss, the former White House advisors are laying low. Ivanka quashed rumors of a potential senatorial bid against Marco Rubio in 2022 when, in February, she called the senator to support his candidacy. The couple has been photographed lounging on the beach and reading a book by Nobel Peace Prize Laureates Tenzin Gyatso, the Dalai Lama, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu about creating “lasting happiness in a changing world.” Hand in hand, Jared and Ivanka stroll along the Atlantic Ocean and treat their children to ice-cream outings.  

While Jared’s role in the family real-estate business remains unclear, Kushner Companies is investing in South Florida. The company is seeking permits to build a one-million-square-foot warehouse in Palm Beach County, developing four high rises in Fort Lauderdale, and breaking ground for two buildings in the trendy Miami neighborhood of Wynwood, famous for its outdoor colorful murals. Jared didn’t attend the project’s groundbreaking, headlined by Miami Mayor Francis Suarez.

Tiffany, the youngest Trump daughter, is also taking it easy in Miami. While reportedly looking for places in the magic city, she’s been staying at the swanky oceanfront Setai Hotel in South Beach. Donning a floppy hat, mask, and sunglasses — almost unrecognizable — Tiffany brunched in March at Joia Beach, a restaurant where a 42-ounce Prime Angus steak costs a cool $180.

Up north in Jupiter, Eric and Lara’s 7,780-square-feet mansion is a three-minute drive from the Trump National Golf Club Jupiter and boasts five bedrooms and seven bathrooms. 

In the next block over from Eric’s new home, older brother Don Jr. is readying to move into Admirals Cove. After backing out of their initial purchase, he and Kimberly bought the neighboring waterfront mansion for $9.7 million, which houses six bedrooms and 11 bathrooms. “He, like anyone else, has the right to live there,” resident Mark Emalfarb, 65, founder and CEO of biotech company Dyadic, told Insider. 

Don Jr. will be able to lay low in luxury. Admiral’s Cove is home to 11 tennis courts, five restaurants, a marina, a spa, and a fitness center. The country club’s mandatory initiation fee runs at $195,000 and annual dues at $28,000, according to real-estate agent Brad Ball. 

“As a golfer and boater, there’s no place better,” Ball said, adding “you don’t ever need to leave.” As welcome as the Trumps seem to be in Florida, they may prefer to stay behind the gilded gates.

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