Carl Hiaasen

‘Just pig out at the Mar-a-Lago buffet table. They’ll never know you’re a spy’ | Opinion

Mar-a-Lago: a top destination for Trump tourism

Mar-a-Lago has become a top destination for Trump tourism. Experts say Mar-a-Lago in particular provides unprecedented levels of access by people to the president.
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Mar-a-Lago has become a top destination for Trump tourism. Experts say Mar-a-Lago in particular provides unprecedented levels of access by people to the president.

Urgent update to Foreign Spy Manual, post-Obama Edition: “Revised List of Tips for Infiltrating Presidential Vacation Retreats.” Please read, memorize and burn:

Remember, there are two levels of security at Mar-a-Lago, the presidential vacation resort in Palm Beach, Florida. The first screening is done by the club’s staff, which — believe it or not — controls access to the property even when the president is there.

Secondary security is provided by U.S. Secret Service agents, who aren’t usually as friendly or gullible. Make sure your initial contact is with a young, underpaid Mar-a-Lago employee.

Because of recent events at the site, we are no longer advising operatives to begin their infiltration like this: “Yo! Which way to the pool?”

Likewise: “Hello, I’m here for the [name a country, any country] Cross-Cultural Arts Symposium and Seafood Brunch.”

Staff workers and the Secret Service are now being instructed to more closely scrutinize the list of Mar-a-Lago members, expected guests and presidential visitors. Your name will not be on that list, of course, though it’s still possible to talk your way past the checkpoints.

Our intelligence analysts have collected anecdotal evidence that certain deep-cover lines remain effective for those seeking entry to the presidential property:

For example: “Hello, I’m here to re-seed the croquet lawn.”

Or: “Hi, I’m filling in today for Eric’s pedicurist. She had to go downtown to straighten out a visa problem.”

Or: “Hey, there. I’m a friend of Stormy’s.”

At some point you might be asked to show identification. Politely hand over the Costco Gold Star card that we’ve included in your spy kit.

If that doesn’t work, try flashing any or all of the foreign passports you carry. We’ve had our best luck with those stamped as being from the People’s Republic of China. A well-worn Russian facsimile is always a solid bet, too.

In the unlucky event that you encounter a competent and experienced screener at the entrance of Mar-a-Lago, be sure to have a fallback plan — and rehearse in advance.

When told that you’re not on the approved guest list, respond at first with a wounded look of confusion, then annoyance and finally a loud, angry, incoherent outburst.

Wishing to avoid a confrontation that would disrupt the dining of dues-paying club members, the Mar-a-Lago staff is likely to quickly back off and allow you to enter. Once inside, be cautious when mingling with others. As amusing as the social scene might be, don’t get distracted and let your guard down.

Because of what occurred last week, we are recommending new procedures for concealing thumb drives loaded with malicious software. Do NOT carry these devices in your purse, beach bag, pants pocket or billfold.

Alternative hiding places for thumb drives may include hollow shoe heels, fake Range Rover key fobs and empty Altoid tins. Some operatives report success at smuggling the thumb drives in vape pens, but there are conflicting accounts regarding the Mar-a-Lago club policy on cannabis paraphernalia.

As you walk through the rooms and hallways of the estate searching for a computer to infect, you should appear to seem lost, or mildly intoxicated. If you get stopped by a staff member or Secret Service agent, ask directions to the nearest restroom.

Tell them it’s an emergency — you have a spastic colon. Whatever.

Currently we are recommending no changes to the established procedure if you see the commander-in-chief during your infiltration of Mar-a-Lago. Proven methods of attracting his attention include waving excitedly, giggling at a high pitch or simply shouting, “We love you, Mr. President! Thank you for making America great again!”

Frequently he will respond by elbowing a visiting head of state out of the way, warmly beckoning you to his table and posing for photographs known as “selfies.” He will have no idea who you are or why you’re there, but he will put his arm around you and grin like you are a dear, beloved friend.

Before posting the picture on your Presidential-Access-For-Sale website, you may use the filter application on your cell phone camera to tone down the unusual apricot hue of the president’s hair.

Afterward, as you depart Mar-a-Lago, cruise by the buffet table and bag up a pile of stone crab claws. This act should remove any suspicion that you’re not a regular guest.

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