Presidents used to vacation in seclusion — at a ranch in Texas or a beach house in Hawaii. Screening their visitors was relatively simple: The only people who came were friends and staff.
President Trump has added vast new complications by choosing to spend his weekends with his customers.
Trump stays at the Mar-a-Lago Club, a busy beachfront resort where his quarters are a short distance from the pool, the ballroom, and the “six star” seafood buffet. That decision — to use his Palm Beach, Fla., club as both a presidential retreat and a moneymaking resort — brings hundreds of members, overnight guests and partygoing strangers into the president’s “Winter White House” every weekend.
To protect the president, that requires the Secret Service to screen hundreds of would-be visitors against preapproved lists.
But to protect his business, it has also required the Secret Service to defer to Mar-a-Lago staffers and allow in some visitors who are not on the list.
Last weekend, that complex system of lists and exceptions broke down. [Continue reading…]