Four weeks into term, the Trump administration already has a sunshine spin-off. This is impressive – it took Dynasty four years to spawn The Colbys.
To Mar-a-Lago, then – or “the winter White House” as Trump is pointedly referring to his Palm Beach, Florida, estate, a paying members’ club that teems each weekend with members who now have jaw-dropping access to the president, his monstourage and whichever foreign dignitaries he ships down there. Try and imagine it like Citizen Kane, only with a load of paying rubes wandering around Xanadu in the background of every important scene. Even as the snowglobe falls from our antihero’s hand, you would hear some Floridian developer breathing: “Oh my God this is awesome can I just quickly get a selfie? Also I’d love to talk to you about that Tokyo thing.”
When last this column journeyed to Mar-a-Lago, our business was with the estate seneschal – a man literally named Mr Senecal. Before the election, Senecal gave a hilariously ghastly interview about how his boss disports himself at Mar-a-Lago, and explained how he himself had graduated to “estate historian”, having previously been Trump’s butler. He was subsequently questioned by the secret service for the usual Jeevesian death threats to Barack Obama. Anyway, this week’s new character is one Richard DeAgnazio, the grinning Mar-a-Lago member who spent the weekend coming off like a competition winner breathlessly updating his social media with boggling pictures of Trump’s stay at Mar-a-Lago. Ultimate highlight? Definitely the photo he shared that named and identified the guy who reportedly carries the nuclear football.
As indicated, the Mar-a-Lago situation must be regarded as rapidly developing. For now, we play out with two urgent questions: is Mar-a-Lago security so comically chaotic that DeAgnazio will only find out his membership pass has been revoked on Friday evening, as he slows his Buick sedan to greet the entrance porter? Or is Mar-a-Lago security so terrifyingly chaotic that he will be waved through as usual?