Let's be honest: No matter where on the political spectrum your beliefs sit, Donald Trump's candidacy for president seemed like a joke from the start. His campaign did little to quell this fact, whether in terms of his numerous gaffes, his past transgressions or the general unpreparedness he exhibits nearly anytime he comes under scrutiny.
Among the objections some people had to a hypothetical Trump presidency? That he would outfit the White House in the same garish fashion he's done to many of his many real estate properties, physically tarnishing the legacy of the United States commensurate with the other wounds his reign would inflict on America's economy and our image around the world.
Nearly two years into the real-life Trump presidency, the world is still (mostly) intact, and so it the White House. But one Trump property that simultaneously reinforces and dispells the idea that Trump's trademark tackiness could eventually spill out of the Oval Office is Mar-a-Lago, a lavish country club in Palm Beach, Florida.
History of Mar-a-Lago
Mar-a-Lago was originally built in the 1920s by American socialite Majorie Merriweather-Post. Like Trump, Merriweather-Post was fabulously wealthy—she built the home, it seemed, simply to have her own palace by the sea, although she left it to the U.S. government in her will when she died in 1973, with the idea that officials would use it to wine and dine foreign dignitaries.
Unfortunately for Ms. Merriweather-Post, that never came to pass.
Indeed, aside from hosting the Red Cross Ball (a tradition that started when Merriweather-Post was alive), very little of note occurred at Mar-a-Lago until Trump purchased the property in 1985, aside from it being designated as a National Historic Landmark (a largely ceremonial gesture) in 1980.
Although Mar-a-Lago's sale to Donald Trump was without controversy (excepting, perhaps, its price tag of $10 million, which is low for a 58-bedroom mansion, even in the 1980s), it is owned by Donald Trump, after all, which means that some controversy has ensued during the past 31 years—and not just regarding Michael Jackson's and Lisa-Marie Presley's honeymoon.
For example, while Donald Trump's patriotism swelled once he announced his presidential bid, it began getting him in trouble years before, in 2006, when he erected a flagpole (bearing the stars and stripes, of course) that was more than double the height allowed by local authorities, courts ordered Trump both to move and shorten the flag pole, and also to make donations to local charities due to his having broken the law.
Ever-paranoid, Trump has also filed multiple lawsuits based in his belief that the FAA has targeted him by directing aircraft landing at nearby Palm Beach International Airport to fly "directly" over Mar-a-Lago. All three related suits have been dismissed, although Trump's attorneys have filed paperwork required to continue them after his presidential bid ends later this year.
How to Visit—or Join—Mar-a-Lago
Reaching Mar-a-Lago is easy—you simply head east after taking exit 68 off I-95, then take a left on Route A1A—as is seeing the estate from the outside. Going inside the Club, however, requires membership, or at least the intention of acquiring membership, a procedure that's not immediately clear from information available on the internet. It's also not clear whether heightened clearance is required now that Trump is president.
The most plausible course of action seems to be to email Gloria Meyers, the executive assistant in charge of membership, and impress her enough such that she passes your application onto whomever actually gives a "Yay" or "Nay." The qualifications aren't known, even if you do apply, although they will likely be frivolous. Perhaps having big hands, or other body parts?