Mar-a-Lago becomes ‘White House South’

(WSVN) - Mar-a-Lago, Donald Trump’s stunning 20-acre winter getaway, is now being called the new “White House South.”

Chad Jenkins, security specialist: “Here is obviously a high avenue of approach.”

Chad Jenkins is a security specialist. A former Army Ranger and FBI agent, he says keeping Trump safe and secure begins with the Secret Service.

Chad Jenkins: “There’s great confidence in the Secret Service’s ability to do this. But at the end of the day, they rely heavily on the local law enforcement.”

Local police handle presidential motorcades. They will also need to provide a large security detail to protect the president.

Chad Jenkins: “All that is implemented and augmented by Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office, West Palm Beach Police Department, Palm Beach Island Police Department.”

The last president to have a home here was John F. Kennedy. But Palm Beach has grown since then, and some dread the change in the rhythm of the city when Trump is here.

Steve Walker, resident: “Traffic jams, disruption in air flights.”

Air space over Mar-a-Lago will be cleared when Trump is in residence, and the Coast Guard will keep boaters away.

Chad Jenkins: “When he is here at Mar-a-Lago, the Coast Guard will have a lot more robust presence on the waterways.”

Bobby Hudson, resident: “It’s a little annoying, but what are you going to do? At least the President lives right next door, right?”

A recent vote to allow Trump to take a helicopter from Palm Beach International Airport directly to Mar-a-Lago should ease traffic congestion, but all the extra security has a big price tag.

Palm Beach County Commissioner Steven Abrams: “It’s a lot of overtime for sheriff’s deputies.”

Palm Beach County Commissioner Steven Abrams says county officials are waiting to hear if they’ll get requested funds from the federal government to help offset those costs.

Steve Abrams: “It does make sense if we can budget it and receive some assistance.”

Palm Beach County is used to celebrities and VIPs coming in and out in the winter months and year-round. Now, officials say, for the next four years, they’re ready to up their game for the new “White House South.”

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