“He just wants to go home,” said another source who knows Melania Trump’s state of mind. Asked how the first lady reacts to the rumors her husband could announce a 2024 tender, the source added, “Maybe it’s not going too well.”
The first lady quietly brought Marcia Lee Kelly to her cramped East Wing staff in April as a special government employee who was able to add gravity and experience. He serves unpaid and voluntary service, but his work as Trump’s special advisor proved useful in the declining months of his first cycle.
Kelly had previously run the White House Administration Office, and after it turned out Trump needed to prepare for his life after Washington, the first lady told Kelly to discreetly ask West Wing acquaintances and a member of the Office of Management and Budget that they were- according to these two sources familiar with the discussions, the resources allocated to the former first lady.
The short answer is no. While there are post-presidential allowances for such things for the outgoing commander-in-chief, the budget is for setting up an official office and staff, and to cover some travel expenses, there can be nothing from the government for a single first lady, saving a meager $ 20,000 annual pension that only they are paid when her husband dies.
The news Kelly had gathered about the budget — that there was none — did not deter Trump from devoting his energy to Washington’s departure. According to discussions from three known sources, an inventory of Trump’s own furniture, art, and personal belongings is currently underway in the White House.
And the first lady is hyper-concentrated, taking over her legacy late. One thing Trump is considering is a book, though there probably won’t be a memoir – writing after the White House is a tradition most first ladies have followed. Michelle Obama’s “Becoming” and Laura Bush’s “Heartfelt” memoir was a huge bestseller.
Instead, Trump is said to be writing a photo-centric coffee table book on the history of White House hospitality, or perhaps working on design projects she completed as a first lady. . Trump is also said to have done one of the last things before the first ladies before leaving office: choosing the official Chinese service of the administration.
“Mrs. Trump focuses on the role of the first lady. On Monday, she announced her latest efforts to preserve the White House by announcing the completion of the tennis pavilion. She recently unveiled a new work of art in the recently renovated Rose Garden. Her office is now full of Christmas decorations. he has the responsibilities of a mother, wife and first lady in the United States, “the first lady’s chief of staff told CNN. Stephanie Grisham.
Trump is now focusing on Mar-a-Lago, a source who has provided a smooth transition from Washington for his own and his 14-year-old son, Barron, who, according to a source, confirms that he is finishing his school year in Florida and not Maryland’s upscale suburban public school, where he has been for the past three years. While Trump hasn’t yet undertaken, Melania Trump is already overseeing the delivery of personal items to Mar-a-Lago from both the White House and the Trump Tower penthouse in New York – confirms one of the resort’s sources to CNN.
Tham Kannalikham, the interior designer hired by Trump in 2017 to remodel the personal residence of the White House executive residence when they moved in, has focused on Trump’s “home” in Mar-a-Lago in recent weeks, a source said. . This includes painting, overseeing new textiles and supporting aesthetic image creation to make the space a permanent residence.
Minor renovations are also taking place in the bathrooms, although nothing significant can be built on the property without a tedious permitting process, as Mar-a-Lago National Historic Site and the City Council’s permission to change the façade or add up is unlikely. According to a source, minor updates were planned and continued before the election.
For a family living on several floors of a Manhattan penthouse, as reflected in Trump’s Trump Tower residence, the residence in Mar-a-Lago is being significantly demolished, which is why the first lady is further aligning private homes where, like the White House, It has a private bedroom suite and a dressing room. The Mar-a-Lago residence covers about 3,000 square feet of the property’s main building, which is a large proportion for many families, but a relative studio apartment after living in the 55,000-square-foot White House mansion.
“It will feel like staying full-time in a nice hotel,” said Laurence Leamer, author of “Mar-a-Lago: At the Gates of Power in Donald Trump’s Presidential Palace”. “It’s a little good, of course, but can you imagine Donald Trump just sitting there for six months of the year? He’s starting to feel trapped very soon.”
Not to mention the constant flow of club members who essentially walk past the front door of the former president whenever they migrate from the pool to the dining room or from the bathroom to the patio.
“It’s going to be the weirdest thing,” said Leamer, who suggests that if Trump is as wealthy as he claims, he should close the club and keep the entire mansion as his home.
According to a source known for Trump’s preparations for his arrival in January, Mar-a-Lago currently has a “truly extensive intelligence presence” as security elements are assessed for Trump’s long-term protection.
Melania Trump sees Mar-a-Lago as a peaceful recreation of sun, solitude and self-care.
“His parents also have a room there, not far from the family home,” said Leamer, who spent plenty of time as a guest of more members than Mar-a-Lago. Viktor and Amalija Knavs, Trump’s parents, often stay in Mar-a-Lago, and they did so for much of the two decades their daughter spent with Donald Trump.
The first lady also knows that Mar-a-Lago is the place where her husband can find the little recognition she will probably need now that she has spent four years in public.
“He is aware that he is not the former president who retires to a quiet life when he writes his memoirs or makes oil paintings,” one source said, citing the post-White House habits of Barack Obama and George. W. Bush.
“Members reinforce their egos,” Leamer added, noting the loyalty of Palm Beach loyalists who belong to Mar-a-Lago, many of whom have supported Trump throughout his presidency.
A familiar source adds to the club’s rituals when Trump often visits one of them “always” playing “God Bless America” when Trump and Melania Trump enter the ballroom or outdoor patio for lunch.
“It’s … weird,” the source said of the way Mar-a-Lago night lounge singer switched from the cozy playlist of jazzed Andrew Lloyd Webber’s shows to a patriotic anthem, and everyone stands when Trump comes down to eat. .
At a demonstration in Georgia on Saturday, Trump told the crowd that he was looking forward to life after the White House in Mar-a-Lago.
“I’d go to Florida … I’d feel free to take it,” he said.
Melania Trump’s future aspirations
As for the official Trump porcelain, the first lady recently chose patterns and colors for hundreds of place settings, which is the usual procedure for an outgoing first lady.
The presidential administration in China has traditionally remained in the White House as part of the official collection, and dates back to President James Monroe and can be used by later administrations. However, according to a source that knows the order, Melania Trump does not rely on the White House Historical Society to pick up the set’s ears, which is not a requirement but an option.
The last administration that did not use funds from the White House Historical Associations for official porcelain was Reagans, the source notes, confirming the association “did not participate in the Trump porcelain acquisition project.”
Full official administrative porcelain service is not a cheap endeavor.
Obama porcelain, the design of which began in 2011, was shipped in 2015, and its color was inspired by the blue waters off the coast of Hawaii. It had 320 sets of 11 pieces, for over $ 350,000. Laura Bush’s porcelain selection was 4,500 pieces and was also six-digit. (Bush ordered an additional, less formal 75-seat facility for private home entertainment that was not paid for by the White House Historical Society.)
Melania Trump most often decided to lend tableware for White House events from the official Clinton porcelain set, including a public dinner hosted by the two Trumps. Hillary Clinton, when she was first lady, chose ornate shiny gold plates and tableware in 300 rooms.
Whether Trump’s personal choice reflects the arrogance of the Trump era will only be told by the future.
CNN staff member Jamie Gangel contributed to this report.