Jeff Greene, the billionaire Palm Beach real estate investor seeking the Democratic nomination for governor, took advantage of his status as a member of President Donald Trump‘s Mar-a-Lago Club to do a photo shoot for a campaign mailer pledging to make Trump pay personally for his frequent Florida visits.
“If Trump wants to vacation here at Mar-a-Lago, he can pay for that himself,” declares an 8-by-10 color mailer that shows Greene standing with hands on hips looking at the Palm Beach mansion from one of its swimming pools.
The photo appears to have been taken from the club’s oceanfront pool across A-1-A from the main mansion. Greene spokeswoman Claire VanSusteren said the candidate visited Mar-a-Lago for the photo shoot and no digital manipulation was involved in the image.
The mailer dovetails with a 30-second Greene TV ad that says he’ll end Florida taxpayer expenditures to help with security when Trump visits and “put that money where Florida needs it — to fully fund Planned Parenthood and help our struggling schools with more teachers and resources.”
Palm Beach County and other local governments spent $3.4 million to help protect Trump during his first seven visits to Mar-a-Lago between February and April 2017. The federal government reimbursed local taxpayers for the costs. Local governments are also in line to be reimbursed by the feds for the costs of Trump’s 2017-18 visits, which cost $3.3 million between November and early February.
Greene lives two properties south of Mar-a-Lago and has been a club member since before Trump got involved in politics.
“He intends to keep his membership as long as he’s allowed,” Van Susteren said. “There are many folks that wish they could walk right up to Donald trump and tell him exactly what they think. That’s why he intends to keep his membership.”
Greene’s first campaign ad featured a brief video clip that appears to show him arguing with Trump in the dining room at Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach.
While all the Democratic candidates for governor have prided themselves on opposing the Republican president, Greene’s Mar-a-Lago membership allows him to make his case visually in a way his rivals can’t. And if Greene’s photo ops anger the president enough to get him kicked out of Mar-a-Lago, it probably would be seen as a badge of honor for the Democratic candidate.
VanSusteren said the Greene campaign has not heard any reaction from the president or Mar-a-Lago, but Greene “anticipates his membership being revoked.”
Greene isn’t the only candidate for governor using a Trump property for campaign purposes. U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, the Republican endorsed by Trump for governor, will hold a campaign event at Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter on Saturday.