- George Bennett, Palm Beach Post
That lack of documentation is “terrifying,” says the director of a watchdog group that filed a lawsuit to try to obtain visitor logs for Trump’s “winter White House.”
Trump visited Mar-a-Lago seven times between February and April, hosting leaders of China and Japan, ordering missile strikes on Syria and conducting other official business there in addition to leisure time. Mar-a-Lago is also a private club with about 500 members.
After Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington pressed for records of who visited the president in Palm Beach, the government last month released a list of 22 names associated with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s February visit to Mar-a-Lago.
But after conducting a “broad set of searches” for other Mar-a-Lago visitors, the Secret Service agent in charge of public records request declared in a Wednesday filing that “there is no system for keeping track of presidential visitors at Mar-a-Lago, as there is at the White House Complex. Specifically, it was determined that there is no grouping, listing, or set of records that would reflect presidential visitors to Mar-a-Lago.”
CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder expressed disbelief at the lack of records.
“We will be pressing the court for the full set of records that does exist,” Bookbinder said in a statement on the group’s website.
“If the government’s statement is true, however, and there really are no records documenting the many people President Trump has met with at Mar-a-Lago, the government has just revealed that everyone from lobbyists to foreign agents can buy secret access to the president — without accountability or even a simple record — by paying his personal business. And that is terrifying.”