A billionaire member of former president Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club says the twice-impeached ex-president’s life in Florida is filled with sycophants and hangers-on but lacking in any actual friendships.
Mr Trump decamped to Florida after leaving the White House in January 2021 despite having spent nearly his entire life in New York City, where his family’s real estate and licensing business empire has been based for decades. He switched his primary residence to the Sunshine State in a fit of pique over investigations into his business practices by a series of New York law enforcement agencies and has made his home at Mar-a-Lago an integral part of his political life as he looks to return to the White House.
But one member of the ex-president’s club, Jeff Greene, told the Financial Times Mr Trump’s life there appears to consist mostly of encounters with people he keeps around to shower him with praise.
"It's all transactional. They want to be around him because he's the ex-president," Mr Greene said. "He likes people to defer to him … and tell him how good he is."
The billionaire investor said he does not have much of a relationship with Mr Trump, and cites his decision to run in the 2018 Florida GOP gubernatorial primary against Trump-endorsed Ron DeSantis.
He recalled how Mr Trump appeared to still hold that against him two years later when he encountered the ex-president on the golf course.
"He looks at me and he goes, 'What a nerve you have coming to this club!' Then he just drives away," he said.
Mr Greene added that the ex-president continued to harangue him about his foray into electoral politics in the club’s dining room.
"He looks me in the eye and he goes, 'You know, you spent all that money, millions and millions of dollars, and came in fourth. What a loser!' In front of all of my friends," he recalled.
He added that Mr Trump’s lack of close relationships was evident during his time as president.
"I mean honestly, I have this friend who … plays golf with him all the time but you know, he never went to the White House. I don't even think he was even invited," he said.
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