The Washington Post’s Reis Thebault reported that the president changed his permanent residence in September from Manhattan to Palm Beach, Fla. Trump addressed the change Thursday in a tweetstorm, saying “he hated having to make this decision” before getting political in the rest of his message.
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the White House, is the place I have come to love and will stay for, hopefully, another 5 years as we MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN, but my family and I will be making Palm Beach, Florida, our Permanent Residence. I cherish New York, and the people of.....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 1, 2019
....New York, and always will, but unfortunately, despite the fact that I pay millions of dollars in city, state and local taxes each year, I have been treated very badly by the political leaders of both the city and state. Few have been treated worse. I hated having to make....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 1, 2019
....this decision, but in the end it will be best for all concerned. As President, I will always be there to help New York and the great people of New York. It will always have a special place in my heart!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 1, 2019
Trump regularly makes jabs at the people, conditions and politics of the country’s major cities, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Detroit, and Washington, D.C. And, perhaps as a result, he’s often the target of harsh criticism from the leaders of those locales. Politicians from Atlanta, Chicago, Houston and Philadelphia have all argued that some of Trump’s policies are harmful for their residents — if not all of America.
New York, however, is one of the few major cities that Trump sometimes still speaks of positively — as he did when addressing his move to Florida. At the same time, his disgust for the city’s political leaders has led him to regularly highlight it as an example of what is wrong with America, according to him and his supporters — especially when trying to score political points. The president has criticized New York politicians on the issues of crime, homelessness and other pet topics of his since becoming president. In that way, he has tried to paint New York and other cities as largely uninhabitable places overrun by values in direct opposition to what it means to be American.
Among the various culture wars dividing the country, one that has become increasingly visible under the Trump presidency is the urban-rural divide. Perhaps no election in recent history has shed more light than the 2016 race on how differently people in America’s more remote areas see issues from residents of metropolitan areas. And despite having been born and raised in arguably America’s most iconic city, the president’s worldview is most often associated with those far from the urban core. That is in part why Trump remains popular in rural America despite having low approval ratings in major cities — including his native New York, which he lost in 2016 to Hillary Clinton, who grew up in Chicago but lived in Arkansas before entering national politics.
Trump’s attacks on cities and their increasingly liberal, if not anti-Trumpian, politics have done little to make him feel welcome there. Even before Trump entered the White House, protesters were standing outside his Fifth Avenue tower criticizing his policies and behavior. Those protests constantly remind the president that the borough where he long aspired to be a major player is now packed with people who do not want him there.
Washington’s response to its famous resident has been similar. Even though Trump says he has come to love living in the White House, others in the city obviously don’t feel the same. Trump lost Washington, D.C., in 2016, and judging by the boos he received when he attended a recent Nationals game, the president has not endeared himself to Washington-area residents.
It is likely, however, that Trump will be well received by many in his new home state of Florida, which he won in 2016 and whose voters sent the president’s preferred gubernatorial candidate to the state capitol in 2018.
As the odds fade of Trump spending his post-presidency in places where his ideas are unpopular — where he might seek common ground with those unlike himself — so it seems does any hope that Trump would embrace a promise he made during his inauguration speech to unify a divided country.
And that’s another window into what Trump’s political legacy might be. Despite entering the national stage as the star of a popular reality show enjoyed by people of various backgrounds and political identities, Trump is on track to spend his post-Washington days nestled safely among those who critics argue were the Americans he prioritized most during his time in Washington.