In their defense of Donald Trump's frequent visits to his Mar-A-Lago estate in Florida, the White House is continuing the Trump-as-populist lie that helped propel him to the presidency.
White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Sanders recently answered queries about Donald Trump’s frequent visits to his Mar-A-Lago estate by asserting that those visits make Trump accessible to “regular Americans.”
Mar-A-Lago is a private club with an initial membership fee of $200,000, annual dues of $12,000, and a nightly rate of $1,000.
For perspective, $200,000 is about four times the median household income in the United States. And median household income is a measure of household income which is actually distorted upward. A full 22 percent of total U.S. income is received by the wealthiest 5 percent of our population, with incomes in that group starting higher than $200,000 a year. In contrast, 40 percent of American households earn less than $43,000 a year.
Throughout the presidential campaign, Trump presented himself as a populist, someone who would represent the interests of the working and middle class of our nation. During his speech at the GOP convention accepting the Republican nomination, Trump asserted:
“Every day I wake up determined to deliver for the people I have met all across this nation that have been ignored, neglected, and abandoned. … These are people who work hard but no longer have a voice,” Trump said. “I am your voice.”
Since taking office, Trump has appointed at least six executives from Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs to his cabinet, and rewarded many multi-million dollar campaign donors with high-level positions. He also has signed two separate executive directives to repeal financial industry regulations aimed at protecting consumers and ordinary investors.
This is not the first time Trump has misrepresented his elitist compound in Florida as a supposed shining example equal opportunity and populist sentiment. In 2016, Trump appeared to brag because Mar-A-Lago does not limit its membership to whites:
There’s nobody that’s done so much for equality as I have. You take a look at Palm Beach, Florida, I built the Mar-a-Lago Club, totally open to everybody, a club that frankly set a new standard in clubs, and a new standard in Palm Beach, and I’ve gotten great credit for it. That is totally open to everybody.
Trump lied and conned 46.1 percent of voters into believing his populist claims. This recent assertion that Trump’s visits to Mar-A-Lago represent access to the president for “regular Americans” — when the majority of Americans do not earn anywhere near enough money to gain that access — is blatant evidence the White House is continuing the con on Trump’s behalf.