The quality of Mar-a-Lago's security is exactly what you'd expect from a Trump facility

The quality of Mar-a-Lago's security is exactly what you'd expect from a Trump facility
BEDMINSTER, NEW JERSEY - 19 NOVEMBER 2016: President-elect Donald Trump & Vice President-elect Mike Pence met with potential cabinet members at Trump International.

Donald Trump insists on calling Mar-a-Lago “the winter White House.” It is not. The White House is the people’s house. Mar-a-Lago is a dated private club that is closed to anyone not able to pay the hefty six-figure membership fee in order to play a mediocre golf course, enjoy a weekly “prime rib night,” and pass napkin-scrawled policy proposals to Trump. Members may be willing to overlook the peeling gold paint and ever-present scent of mildew in their quest to overhear top-secret operations casually discussed in the dining room, and the Secret Service may have no choice but to shell out millions in cart rental to the guy they are nominally there to protect, but Mar-a-Lago is just the place Trump goes to cheat at golf and eat cake.

Another place where Trump’s private club appears to be a little less than stellar is on the security front—and the concern is not just Trump loudly yapping it up during military operations. As NBC News reports, a woman showed up at the gates of Mar-a-Lago waving not one, but two Chinese passports. She spoke first with Secret Service personnel at the gate, telling them she was there for a swim. So they escorted her to the Mar-a-Lago security office.

Missing from the woman’s kit was any form of swimsuit. However, she was carrying an array of phones, a laptop, and other electronics gear—including a thumb drive loaded up with malware.

The woman was not a member. But one part of her name matched on part of the name of a member at the club. So they let her in. The name on the woman’s twin passports was Yujing Zhang. As it happens, Zhang is the third most common surname in China. Allowing the woman in was the equivalent of saying, “Well, we do have someone here named Johnson, and your name is Johnson, so go ahead.” Mar-a-Lago did ask the woman if the Zhang on the membership list was a relative, to which she gave “a non-definitive answer.” Apparently that was good enough.

It was only when Zhang told a receptionist she was at Trump’s club to attend a “United Nations Chinese American Association event” that someone’s radar seemed to go off. Because there was no such event. It was the receptionist, not Mar-a-Lago’s sterling security staff, who called back the Secret Service and suggested that perhaps this guest needed a little more attention.

Despite Mar-a-Lago security saying they had let her through because of “language difficulties,” the Secret Service found that, under questioning, Zhang spoke “very good English.”

Exactly why Zhang was at the club isn’t clear. In questioning, she continued to claim she had been told there was an event that evening and she wanted to be there to take pictures in advance. She may have even been telling the truth.

What is clear is that the security at Mar-a-Lago … is exactly at the level of everything else at Mar-a-Lago. And exactly what you would expect from Trump.

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