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Secret Service planning for Trump spending lots of his post-presidency in Palm Beach

Anthony Man
Sun Sentinel

Fort Lauderdale, Fla. – The Secret Service is planning for a stepped-up presence in Palm Beach County starting on Jan. 20 – when President Donald Trump adds “former” to his title and begins spending much more time at his Mar-a-Lago Club.

Former presidents and former first ladies get Secret Service protection for life (although security details for the former first ladies have sometimes proven controversial when they’ve lasted for decades after a presidency.)

Although Trump has yet to acknowledge he’s lost the election, President-elect Joe Biden won and is set to become president at noon on Jan. 20. And ABC News, citing sources, reported Monday that Secret Service agents in the president’s protective detail have been asked if they want to transfer to Palm Beach.

This Monday, Nov. 21, 2016 file photo, shows the Mar-a-Lago resort owned by President Donald Trump in Palm Beach, Fla.

ABC said renovations to the president’s and first lady’s living quarters are underway with the expectation they’d start spending more time there when Biden becomes president and that the Secret Service has “begun looking at physical reinforcements” to Mar-a-Lago. The agency declined to comment on “the means, methods or resources we utilize to carry out our protective mission,” ABC said.

Before his presidency and since, Trump has spent lots of time during the winter at Mar-a-Lago, which is a short drive from his eponymously named golf course in West Palm Beach. Fans of the president have taken to gathering along the route between the Mar-a-Lago and the golf club to demonstrate support.

When it’s hot in Florida, he prefers his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey.

Trump declared Mar-a-Lago his permanent residence last year when he got mad at his longtime home state of New York. He and first lady Melania Trump voted as residents of Palm Beach in the March presidential primary, the Florida state and local primaries in August, and the November general election.

Besides good weather in the winter, Florida has another big advantage for someone who claims great wealth: unlike New York, it has no state or city income tax.

The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, which has provided extensive supplemental security services since Trump became president, referred questions about local planning for post-presidency security for Trump to the Secret Service.

U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel, a Democrat who represents Palm Beach, didn’t immediately have a comment on Monday. Frankel was instrumental in securing federal reimbursements to help cover the costs incurred by local law enforcement agencies assisting in presidential security.