The hottest spot in Palm Beach County for national news reporters covering President Donald Trump isn’t one of the many hot restaurants in West Palm Beach’s Dixie Dining Corridor.
No, the best place to spot members of the traveling press pool is on Summit Boulevard across from Trump International Golf Club in suburban West Palm Beach.
The main branch of the Palm Beach County Library System has served as a weekend holding spot for members of the pool as they wait for Trump to finish visiting the club.
On recent Saturday and Sunday mornings, visitors to the library could see the usual sights associated with the institution — parents reading to children, students performing research, eager readers browsing for a new book — alongside suited journalists camped out while they await the next move of the most powerful man in the world.
Each time Trump goes to the club — whether to take phone calls, hold meetings or hit a few balls — the white vans that carry the media pool that reports on his movements heads to the library parking lot. Members of the press can stay in the van, or they can stroll into the library to work in one of the three study rooms or the larger, 80-seat meeting room.
“We met up with the motorcade at 9:40 (a.m.) and are headed to the library while the president heads to Trump International Golf Course,” read one recent pool report. “Have not been advised on his plans once there.”
The report then added:“Your pooler has heard rave reviews about the library, is excited to expand his horizons with the power of books.”
Whether tongue-in-cheek or not, the comment reveals what the rest of the press pool knows: If you’re going to Palm Beach to cover Trump, you can expect to spend some time at the library.
From another pool report: “Pool is holding in a conference room at the public library with the president across the street at Trump International Golf Course.”
“The pool vans arrived at the Palm Beach County Library across from the Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach,” reads a pool report from Trump’s fourth weekend in Palm Beach. That time around, the pool hung out in a “boardroom” at the library.
That boardroom can hold up to 20 people and is reserved in advance by the White House’s Executive Office of the President, which pays $150 for each use, said Adam Davis, director of system services for the library.
The library allows the journalists to come inside before the branch opens, Davis said. For example, the president arrived at Trump International at 8:37 a.m. Sunday, while the pool vans peeled off into the library’s parking lot. The library’s doors don’t open until noon, but the members of the pool can go in and work in the boardroom.
“The press corps and the Executive Office of the President have been extremely thankful and really nice about using the library,” Davis said.
The library provides a convenient workspace for the “poolers,” who so far have not been allowed to accompany Trump into Trump International Golf Club when he spends time there. The club, which is near Palm Beach International Airport, is the closest of the two Trump Organization golf clubs to what Trump has called his “southern White House.”
You might think having the press pool hanging out at the library might make for good press. But it hasn’t.
Members of the press pool are discouraged from talking about their experiences. This reporter reached out to several recent poolers who have traveled with Trump to Palm Beach County, but none would talk about their experiences at the library, and only one replied to decline an interview request.
Davis seemed amused by the attention his branch has received.
“We’ve been in the New York Times twice,” he said, adding later, “We’re a popular place to hang out. What can I say?”