A Florida resort once called the "Winter White House" is emptying of members.
Members of Donald Trump's glitzy Florida resort Mar-a-Lago are apparently leaving in droves, according to the author of the palace's remarkable rise and times.
"It's a very dispirited place," said Laurence Leamer, who recorded the resort's in his 2019 book, Inside the Gates of Power at Donald Trump's Presidential Palace.
The historian spoke about the resort's meteoric fall from grace in an interview on MSNBC this Sunday, saying "a lot of people have quit Mar-a-Lago" over the sour atmosphere which has descended over the resort following the US Presidential Election.
"It's a sad place ... it's not what it was."
Built in 1927 by Joseph Urban and Marion Wyeth, the resort is one of Palm Beach's grandest mansion with 58 bedrooms and 33 bathrooms. Trumps own contributions to the mansion include a remodelled golf course and a gift shop selling branded "TRUMP" candles, chopping boards and jelly beans.
Once referred to as the "Winter White House" only semi ironically, the former president faced criticism for the amount of state business conducted from the private resort. In his time as president Donald Trump hosted dinners with world leaders at the palace, including the Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe, and in April 2017 he launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles into Syria from a makeshift war room on site.
Its transformation from a Florida country club into the halls of power secured its appeal for a certain type of member. Proximity to the president was something that members were willing to pay US$200,000 ($277,00) in membership fees, plus $20,000 in annual dues.
Membership fees were doubled, shortly after his election in late 2016. At the time the resort told CNN Money this was "a fair value" with manager Bernd Lembcke saying the price hike "had nothing to do with Trump's victory last November."
In 2017 the New York Times investigation revealed that Mar-a-Lago was close to full with almost 500 paying-members.
However, membership lists seen by the paper that "most of the 500 have had memberships predating Mr. Trump's presidential campaign."
Leamer said previously loyal members have been tuned-off by the unjustifiable prices, visibly falling standards and have "silently walked out."
Last year The Washington Post revealed that the property's neighbours started legal action to stop Trump using the resort as a personal address.
"Even here, people don't like him," Leamer told MSNBC, speaking from Palm Beach. "It's just another measure of how his power has declined."