'Like zoo animals': Donald and Melania Trump eat alone at a 'roped-off table' at a Mar-a-Lago restaurant, book says

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'Like zoo animals': Donald and Melania Trump eat alone at a 'roped-off table' at a Mar-a-Lago restaurant, book says
Donald and Melania Trump. Getty
  • Donald and Melania Trump often eat at a "roped-off" Mar-a-Lago table, Michael Wolff's new book says.
  • The book says the Trumps "spend their dinner greeting friends and wellwishers."
  • It's "unclear" whether Melania Trump lives at Mar-a-Lago with the former president, the book says.

Former President Donald Trump and Melania Trump often eat alone at a "roped-off table" in the center of a Mar-a-Lago patio restaurant when she is there, a forthcoming book by the journalist Michael Wolff says.

The Trumps are "looked at, somewhat, like zoo animals," Wolff wrote in an excerpt of the book "Landslide: The Final Days of the Trump Presidency" published by The Times of London.

"No, no, that's not right," he continued. "They are like a newly married couple: every night is a wedding at which they spend their dinner greeting friends and wellwishers."

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Since leaving the White House, Trump has lived at his club in Florida, receiving Republican lawmakers who are seeking his endorsement. He eats dinner most evenings on the patio, appearing just as it has filled, "at which point everyone stands and applauds," Wolff wrote.

The book, however, questions whether Melania Trump lives there with her husband.

"For four years in the White House, it was never quite clear how much time she was spending at the White House or in a house in Maryland where she had settled her parents," Wolff wrote. "Aides were careful not to closely inquire or openly wonder. Here too, in Mar-a-Lago, it was unclear."

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Melania Trump made headlines at the start of the Trump administration by not immediately moving into the White House. She stayed with their son Barron in New York City until the end of his school year, a decision that reportedly cost about $27 million for security.

She now has her own official office but has stayed out of the limelight.

"She's not a presence at Mar-a-Lago at all," a person close to the couple told CNN in April. "She's not mingling with people and rarely interacts with her husband's staff."

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CNN reported that the couple shared "a large suite of rooms" at the property and that her parents stayed there for weeks at a time in their own personal suite. Melania Trump also "makes frequent trips to the on-site spa - with one person telling CNN she sometimes goes for treatments twice a day," according to the news outlet.

Three people familiar with Trump's dinner appearances told CNN she "smiles and gives a wave as other dinner patrons rise from their seats to applaud the arrival of the former first couple to the dining area."

Wolff's book describes an "old-fashioned club life" at Mar-a-Lago, with Croquet Singles, a Prime Rib Night, and poster boards with the schedule.

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"The only membership qualification now, beyond the actual cost ($250,000, up from $150,000 before the presidency, plus a hefty yearly fee), is to be an abject Trump admirer," Wolff wrote. "This may not be so much a political statement as an aesthetic one - the thrall of a super-celebrity."

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