Could Donald Trump's Bedminster golf course become America's new Camp David?
Since its construction in 1935, Camp David has been the retreat for the President of the United States. The next administration might have a new sanctuary in mind.
President-Elect Donald Trump has used his Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster as a base when not in his Midtown Manhattan skyscraper throughout his campaign. More recently, he's used the New Jersey club to interview possible candidates for cabinet posts. He's spent so much time at Bedminster, which is located 50 miles from New York City, that the question has been raised: will this be Trump's frequent stomping grounds during the presidency?
A commander-in-chief calling a golf course his vacation home is not new. President Dwight Eisenhower was a frequent guest of Augusta National, logging 29 official trips during his time at the White House (the Augusta Chronicle cited 45 trips in total by Ike). And while Bedminster will never be confused with Magnolia Lane, it's a beautiful property, set to host the 2017 U.S. Women's Open and the 2022 PGA Championship. Given Trump's love for the sport, it stands to reason he'd make continual use of his personal club, especially amid speculation that the 70 year old wants to spend weekends outside of Washington, D.C.
But while Bedminster has everything a president could want, the location could be problematic for the Secret Service and other government agencies. As a NJ.com article posits, many presidents have held weekend retreats, yet no one has called a public area their vacation spot. While Trump owns the club, Bedminster still has many members and visitors using the grounds, which could cause a security nightmare.
"Their day-to-day business is the use of the facilities by its members," said John D. Cohen, of Rutgers University's Institute for Emergency Preparedness and Homeland Security. "So you can't simply do what the Secret Service would like to do, which is build a huge wall and screen everybody who comes there."
Then there's the township of Bedminster. With a population hovering around 8,000, the pastoral town could be upheaved by Trump's constant presence. One of Trump's last-second decisions to go to Bedminster over a weekend forced the 16-person police department to provide several officers for round-the-clock coverage.
"Whenever the president travels anywhere, the local police have to provide support to the Secret Service. Roads might be closed. The airspace about that facility has to be secured," Cohen said. "As president, he can no longer just simply go to these properties and not have it dramatically impact the life and movement of the residents there."
Nevertheless, Trump will likely use Bedminster -- as well as other golf properties, such as Mar-a-Lago -- during his time in office. Putting extra emphasis to his title as our nation's First Golfer.