Trump's Mar-a-Lago Trips Likely Will Shift To New Jersey As Summer Heats Up The president likely will skip summer's heat at his Florida resort, instead going to his golf club in Bedminster, N.J. Some there are excited, but others worry the visits will overwhelm the town.
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New Jersey Residents Brace For Trump's Weekend Whirlwinds To Blow Their Way

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New Jersey Residents Brace For Trump's Weekend Whirlwinds To Blow Their Way

New Jersey Residents Brace For Trump's Weekend Whirlwinds To Blow Their Way

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President Trump has spent a good part of his first hundred days at Mar-a-Lago, the private club he owns in Florida, mingling with the paying customers, playing golf. As summer arrives, Florida grows hot, and attention may turn to another Trump property in Bedminster, N.J., a sleepy town now preparing for a lot of attention. NPR's Joel Rose reports.

JOEL ROSE, BYLINE: This is New Jersey horse country, open fields and forests. And just down the road is Trump National Golf Club - Bedminster. The front gates to the former estate of automaker John DeLorean are understated. If you don't know what you're looking for, you could drive right by them.

DORENE LONGELL: Originally, people came out here from New York because they used to want to do riding and that. And they wanted to be in the country that reminded them of England or a quieter place.

ROSE: Dorene Longell is co-owner of the Bedminster Florist. It's on the quaint Main Street in this rural town about an hour west of Midtown, Manhattan. Longell voted for Trump, and she says a lot of her neighbors in this Republican-dominated area did too.

LONGELL: We like having him. I like having him. How many people in the United States can say - oh, the president has a home in my backyard?

ROSE: The residents of West Palm Beach can, and some aren't as enthusiastic as Dorene Longell. Many in Florida will be relieved when the president's Mar-a-Lago Club closes for the season, bringing an end to traffic and other headaches associated with his frequent visits. But in Bedminster, some local merchants are thrilled about having the weekend White House in town. Steve Desiderio owns a deli and catering business on Main Street.

STEVE DESIDERIO: When he was in town, it really helped the business with a lot of the Secret Service and the reporters and people coming in.

ROSE: Bedminster got this preview in November, when the Trump transition team spent a weekend interviewing potential Cabinet members at his golf club. The small Bedminster Township Police force went into full gear, directing traffic and preparing for big crowds. And some residents worry about what would happen if the president visits Bedminster as often as he went to Florida.


JANE SCHUMANN: I have a concern.

ROSE: Jane Schumann spoke at a township meeting in March. Schumann says she has friends in West Palm Beach who complained that their taxes may go up because of the president's frequent visits.

SCHUMANN: I just think it's extremely unfair if the burden becomes a Bedminster taxpayer burden.

ROSE: Bedminster is looking to the federal government for help. In December, the town's mayor, Steve Parker, sent a letter to his congressman that estimated the cost of police overtime for the president's anticipated visits this summer at roughly $300,000.

STEVE PARKER: We haven't gotten anything concrete. We're still waiting to see how that's going to work. But it's not for a lack of asking on our part.

ROSE: Parker hopes the overall impact on the town will be minor. But he expects that his own business will take a hit. Parker's day job is running the local airport, and he knows that there's a no-fly zone around any sitting president. What Parker doesn't know is how often the president will be coming or what kind of reception he'll get when he does.

PARKER: Are we going to get crowds that are going to come out that are going to want to camp out in front of the golf course or not? I don't know yet. I kind of hope not because I think we'd just like to keep things as quiet as things usually are in Bedminster.

ROSE: At least Parker won't have to wait long to find out. Mar-a-Lago temporarily shuts down next month as many of its members plan to summer elsewhere. Joel Rose, NPR News, Bedminster, N.J.


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