With properties in New York, Chicago, Las Vegas and dozens more spanning the country and even the globe, President Donald Trump shocked everyone last year when he changed his primary residence from Manhattan to Palm Beach.
“I think it’s a great thing,” said Deanna, a Palm Beach resident. “How many people would like to live in the same town as the President of the United States.”
While the president has yet to concede the election, questions loom over whether he’ll return to his current Palm Beach residence and exclusive resort Mar-a-Lago.
“I think it’s wonderful,” Palm Beach resident Joann Woodruff said. “I think he should move right in and join the rest of us.”
“I don’t see anything wrong in him you know retiring here and waiting to run again in another four years,” said Diane and Stanley Miller, who also live in Palm Beach.
But in doing so, it could mean more disruptions for this exclusive and highly private island community.
While in office, the president’s visits to Palm Beach have attracted thousands of supporters and detractors, forced a lockdown on airspace, brought throngs of media and shut down traffic.
“Sometimes it would take us an extra hour to get off the island,” said Tiffiney Martin, who works in Palm Beach.
Tim Miller, a former Secret Service agent who now runs a private security and consulting business, explains what life might look like for Trump after presidency.
“President Trump was a celebrity before he took office. He had his own plane, had a security detail, so that’s not going to change simply because he’s not the sitting president of the United States. He will have a very high level of security for the foreseeable future,” he said. “”When a sitting president becomes a former President, much of the security, although the functional security remains the same, some of the tools in that process will change.”
In other words, while Air Force One and flashy motorcades are gone, the level of security is unchanged while a president transitions to private life.
“The mission of the secret service is to protect presidents,” Miller said. “Whether it’s current or former it doesn’t matter.”
Former presidents Bush and Obama are often spotted outside their private homes with a small security team in tow, but Miller says don’t be fooled into thinking they’re not fully protected.
“What you see with the Secret Service is just a small portion of the overall security efforts,” he said.
Wherever the president lives, he’ll spend the remainder of his life protected by Secret Service. For the Town of Palm Beach, that means more time in the spotlight, like it or not.
“I mean this is part of the show. He’s part of the show,” Palm Beach resident John Fleming said. “If you don’t like it, I don’t know what to tell you.”