But that’s just visits. In terms of time spent, Trump is much more loyal to his club in Palm Beach, Fla.: Mar-a-Lago. He has dipped down to his resort there on 24 occasions as president and stayed for all or part of 97 days. In other words, Trump has spent at least part of one out of every 10 days of his presidency at Mar-a-Lago.
That despite the club being closed during the summer.
According to a report in the New York Times, Mar-a-Lago is now officially Trump’s home. He still spends most of his time in the White House, of course, though he’s at a Trump property on about one out of every three days. Since becoming president, he has gone to Mar-a-Lago a lot more often than he has his former Manhattan home at Trump Tower, which he has visited on all or part of 20 days as president. The form officially identifying Florida as his home also lists other residences used by Trump, including his golf club in New Jersey — at which he has spent all or part of 91 days since his inauguration.
Why make this move? For one thing, his and the first lady’s votes will be much more useful in Florida next year than they would be in New York. After all, he could win Florida, where his approval last year was 10 points higher than in New York. That’s another reason in itself: Why live somewhere where a majority of the population thinks you’re bad at your job? I mean, a majority in Florida thinks that, too, but a smaller majority.
The Times article cites another reason for the move: taxes. Recent changes to the tax code have meant that wealthier New Yorkers take a more significant hit than they used to, which may be one reason New Yorkers are less enthusiastic about the president who signed those changes into law. While Trump hasn’t publicly pointed to taxes as a reason for his move, it wouldn’t be surprising. Though New York’s governor doesn’t seem to think that was a motivation for Trump.
Perhaps the most obvious reason for Trump to make the move, though, is that this is what older New Yorkers do: move to Florida. Most don’t own expansive clubs there, but many own something and eventually decide that year-round warm weather isn’t that terrible a thing.
The Census Bureau collects data on moves between states. In 2018, more than 63,000 people lived in Florida who the year prior had been residents of New York. That’s the fourth-largest interstate migration in the United States.
The largest? California to Texas, a trek made by 86,000 people. The rest of the top five:
2. California to Arizona: 69,000
3. New York to New Jersey: 65,000
5. California to Washington: 55,000
In summary, then, Trump’s move to Mar-a-Lago:
- Might save him on taxes, particularly given the law he signed in 2017
- Is the same move made by 63,000 people last year
- Gets him out of a state that really dislikes him and into one that only sort of dislikes him
- Gives him two more votes in Florida for 2020 and
- Reflects where he is most likely to go when leaving Washington anyway
Given all that, we really should have seen this coming.