COMMENTARY: Security tight inside Mar-a-Lago as U.S. missiles hit Syria


PALM BEACH — For the members of President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club lucky enough to score reservations, Thursday’s dinner was different from previous Prime Rib Nights.

For starters, the club was almost entirely shut down except for a handful of tables on the terrace and an early-wrap veterans benefit downstairs.

And there was no prime rib.

But there were two presidents in the Winter White House, which meant twice as much security.

“If I see that phone in your hand again, I’m taking it away from you,” a security officer said sternly, as I was finishing a quick text to the boss.

Whaaaat?

Really?

This place has been home to more flashes than a double-blind menopause study, and now all of a sudden they’re cracking down?

I wanted only to surreptitiously push the SEND button to deliver the update, but this guy looked like he meant business. So I didn’t.

The cellphone went back into the clutch as the rest of the Secret Service contingent began positioning themselves along the walkway and talking into their headsets, which meant one thing: POTUS was on the move, and heading our way.

And there he was. Accompanied by his first lady Melania — stunning in a Mandarin red dress, a subtle homage to the guests of honor — daughter Ivanka, son-in-law (and water-walker-on) Jared Kushner, slightly worse-for-the-wear press secretary Sean Spicer, and a boatload of staff, the somber-faced president stopped at our table and said quietly, “Big night, Shannon. Big night.”

No details. Just a “big night.” Obviously something of import had transpired, judging by the look on every one of their countenances.

But at the next table, Boston Celtics legend and NBA Hall of Famer John Havlicek was blowing out the sparklers on his birthday cake as one of his guests filmed it on a cellphone, which was promptly snatched from his hand by the burly security guy. “I’ll take that…” Security Guy said, as he walked away with the phone.

OK, so POTUS was in the house and security was tight, but really, we thought the guy was just being — well, kind of a pain. President Trump had returned to his living quarters; what was the big deal?

It was a U.S. missile launch against Syria, that’s what, yet another full-on international incident playing out under the stars above The Mar-a-Lago Club’s cobbled terrace. And a pretty scary one at that.

Oh, and happy birthday, Hondo. Hope you got that phone back.



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