With preparations under way at Mar-a-Lago for yet another visit by President Donald Trump, some members who pay $15,000 a year to enjoy the breathtaking private club that also happens to be Trump’s Palm Beach weekend home are mumbling they’re tired of the constraints placed upon them ahead of Trump visits.
The latest: One longtime member who asked that his name not be used because he believes his access to Trump could be severed said he and his fellow Mar-a-Lagoans are now banned from taking photos whenever Trump’s in the building.
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“That’s something else they came up with over the past few days,” the source said. “We’ve been told security guards will go up to members taking photos and tell them to knock it off.
“Can you imagine? It’s your own club and you can’t take photos.”
The new rule comes in the wake of a previous edict two weeks ago that closed Mar-a-Lago to members who didn’t make a nearly impossible reservation in advance of Trump’s trips.
Because members with dinner reservations can be vetted before the president arrives.
Never mind that most members pay a nonrefundable $100,000 initiation fee in addition to the annual dues plus food and drinks. (New members are now paying $200,000 to be initiated, Mar-a-Lago announced earlier this year.)
No reservation, no entry onto the property — even just for drinks.
The rules popped up without any input from the well-heeled members after the weekend of Feb. 11, when Trump was entertaining Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
That Saturday night, the two statesmen ended up having to deal with the announcement of a missile launch toward Japan by North Korean while club members dining at adjacent tables immortalized the incident on social media.
So, why do members take the blows without as much as a whimper in broad daylight?
“Historically, Trump has sued members who try to quit his clubs,” the Mar-a-Lago member said. “So, most people just shut up and roll with the punches.”
In other Mar-a-Lago news, the club’s gift shop has stopped selling $85 polo shirts with the number “45” embroidered on the sleeve.
Trump, the 45th president of the United States, has been criticized for attempts to cash in on his office.
The new shirts, still $85 apiece, now bear the patch of an American flag.
Club General Manager Bernd Lembcke said he never comments on member business.