MAGA-Lago is a luxury resort at Palm Beach in the U.S. state of Florida, and is the personal residence of ex-President Donald Trump, at least until someone sees this and informs the relevant authorities.
The resort was ranked fifth in a 2012 list of 100 places with notable architecture in Florida. Who knew there were any?
The resort's original name, Mar-a-lago (/ˌmɑːrəˈlɑːɡoʊ/), means "Sea-to-lake" (/ˌsi-2-ˈleɪk/), and refers to the fact that the resort extends the entire width of Palm Beach, from the Atlantic Ocean (that would be "Sea") to Lake Worth (the Intracoastal Waterway). In other words, it's frigging Yuge.
When Donald Trump acquired the property, its name became MAGA-Lago, the acronym meaning "Make America Great Again". However, following the year 2020, which featured every mishap from the Coronavirus to miscounting of all America's votes by machines controlled by deceased Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chávez, Trump focused his ambitions on merely making his private residence great again, or perhaps making the room with the pool table great again.
The resort was commissioned from 1924 to 1927 by Marjorie Merriweather Post, heiress to Post-It notes and the wife of E.F. Hutton. When E.F. Hutton spoke, people listened; but fortunately for Post, when she spoke, enough people listened to build a humongo resort right there — no, over to the left a little, please. Post spent the current equivalent of $103 million to build the home, which has 58 bedrooms, 33 bathrooms, 12 fireplaces, and three bomb shelters.
Post, who died in 1973, willed the 17-acre estate to the United States government as a "Winter White House" or "Southern White House" for Presidents and foreign celebrity visitors. However, Richard Nixon had his own Florida property, Jimmy Carter stayed at home in Georgia whenever in that part of the country, and the U.S. Government soon realized the gift was going to be one colossal white elephant, before it even began to specialize in them. It returned it to the Post Foundation in 1981. The Foundation listed it for sale in $20 million, but there was so little interest that the city prepared to demolish it for probably yet another trailer park.
In 1985, Trump learned that the property was available, but his low-ball offer of $15 million was rejected. The shrewd developer then bought an adjacent property and announced he was building a home. That tanked prices up and down the island and he was able to buy for $7-10 million the parcel he wanted all along. Famously, the same gambit did not work, decades later, with either the federal employees' union or the U.S. Congress, as these do not have nearby duplicates that one can deal with instead.
In 1995, after plenty of jousting with the City of Palm Beach, Trump converted the residence into a luxury private club that attracted wealthy socialites and ambassadors from around the world. He famously hired African-Americans and Jews to the wait staff, resulting in more municipal jousting.
During Trump's term as President, from 2017 to 2021, he referred to MAGA-Lago as his "Winter White House", which was exactly Post's intention. It was one of a myriad of things the government was unable to do that Trump envisioned doing with private tycoon money instead. It was also the only time this strategy worked. In view of Trump's foreign policy achievements, the multiple bomb shelters came in quite handy. In addition, a Nuclear Football was installed for advanced statecraft.
In 2019, Trump became fed up with New York City and made MAGA-Lago his legal residence. Fatefully, like hundreds of thousands of "snowbirds", that exposed Trump to Albany's full panoply of bureaucrats demanding proof that he was not simply evading state income tax.
In addition, litigators claimed that MAGA-Lago was essentially now a government office, and that records of everyone who visited should be made public, along with transcripts of the conversations. The American public can rest assured that it has not seen the last Donald Trump scandal.
As everywhere he goes, Trump was embroiled in litigation. Palm Beach sued Trump for flying a yuge (20' by 30') American flag, citing local zoning codes and insisting that anything that big had to be an LGBT or Rainbow Coalition flag. The suit was settled when Trump agreed to fly a smaller flag somewhere else. Fines against Trump were dropped too, in favor of voluntary contributions to veterans' charities in a somewhat larger amount.
Trump has been the plaintiff against Palm Beach International Airport (PBI), trying to get aircraft to fly quieter, cleaner, and somewhere else. That suit was also dismissed when Trump bought the city a golf course, though he did put his name on it. By the time he became President, the entire vicinity was a No-Fly Zone and commercial traffic ended entirely, as passengers could not be guaranteed that Trump would not scramble fighter planes to shoot them down.
Concurrent with the effort to slap a second impeachment on Trump after he was already out of office, locals have been scrutinizing the MAGA-Lago legal documents. When Trump turned the property into a private club, it involved a covenant with the city that no guest would stay there for more than three weeks per year, long enough to feel he lives in Palm Beach and to start dominating the conversations at local coffee shops. This means Trump has a minimum of time to find a new personal residence. Though America has plenty of trailer parks whose residents would throw one Hell of a welcoming party, no agreement has yet been reached.
MAGA-Lago was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980, this commemorating Mrs. Post. In a separate nod to Mr. Trump, the U.S. Government has also designated it a Superfund Clean-up Site.