This article has been updated.
The first “southern White House” mentioned in the New York Times was not the property now owned by President Trump in Palm Beach, Fla. It was, quite literally, the South’s version of the White House from the Civil War, the home in which Confederate president Jefferson Davis lived. (The Times’ 1889 article on its potential razing is … very racist.)
Under Franklin Roosevelt, the town of Warm Springs, Ga., was his “southern White House” — at least according to a Times article written during the Carter administration. The town is where Roosevelt died, making Harry Truman president.
But during Truman’s tenure, the “southern White House” appellation moved from Georgia down to Florida — not to Palm Beach but to Key West. At the United States Naval Station there, visitors could visit what The Post dubbed the “Southern White House,” as well as a captured Japanese submarine should they wish to do so.
When Richard Nixon was president, the term was used to describe a cluster of houses he’d bought in Key Biscayne, Fla. on Bay Lane. “These,” The Post reported, “are referred to as the Southern White House.”
The point here should be obvious: President Trump’s declaration this week that Mar-a-Lago “is indeed the Southern White House” is a declaration that should be unremarkable given how the term has bounced around from president to president. It’s the current Southern White House, certainly, but that may change.
We will give Trump credit on one score, though: He’s using his Southern White House far more than Truman, Roosevelt or Nixon did — though perhaps not as much as Jefferson Davis used his. With Trump’s extended visit to the property this week, he’s now spent all or part of one out of every seven days of his presidency at the property — the equivalent of one day out of every week.
Since his inauguration, Trump has visited a Trump-branded or -owned property every 3.1 days — more than twice a week. This week, he’s visited three different Trump properties: Mar-a-Lago and his golf clubs in Virginia and Palm Beach. He’s visited five other Trump-branded properties as president, including another golf club in Florida, his estate in New Jersey, Trump Tower and hotel properties in Hawaii and D.C.
He’s also played golf on one out of every 5.2 days as president, by our estimate — 88 rounds in total, including his third round with Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe this week. (Trump and Abe also played at Mar-a-Lago in February 2017 and in Japan last November.) To compare that rate of play to Trump’s predecessor: If Trump didn’t play another round of golf until November 11, 2019, he’d finally tie the rate at which Obama played in his first term as president. By the time Obama played his first round as president, according to ObamaGolfCounter.com, Trump had already played 16 times.
Update: As of Friday, the figure fell to once every 5.1 days. Friday was, by our count, the 23rd weekday of his presidency that Trump has likely played golf of 89 rounds total. It was also his 68th day at Mar-a-Lago.
What makes the frequency of Trump’s visits to Mar-a-Lago so remarkable is that the property is actually closed for much of the summer. It closed mid-May of last year and reopened on Halloween. In other words, Trump visited Mar-a-Lago on 23 percent of the days it’s been open since he’s been president.
Given that figure, we’ll go ahead and grant the facility the Southern White House title.