Donald Trump’s overblown resort in Florida, Mar-a-Lago sees a lot of visitors. Business moguls, celebrities and paying guests all love the 126-room mansion in Palm Beach, a building that Trump calls “The Greatest Mansion Ever Built.” (He must not get out much, there are much greater mansions in the world. Please note all the superlatives attached to it if you visit the website for Mar-a-Lago. Typical Trump.)
Trump keeps an apartment of rooms for his family at the resort, renting the rest out to members and guests. These guests expect all of the things Trump promises in his bellicose advertising for the place: spa, dining, golf, et.al. But one thing I’m sure they didn’t expect is that Trump can listen in on their phone calls.
In his bedroom, Trump has a console that acts like a switchboard, connecting him to every phone extension at the resort. This, according to sources — six former employees of the resort — who spoke to Buzzfeed.
… he listened in on calls between club employees or, in some cases, between staff and guests. None of them knew of Trump eavesdropping on guests or members talking on private calls with people who were not employees of Mar-a-Lago. They also said that Trump could eavesdrop only on calls made on the club’s landlines and not on calls made from guests’ cell phones.
Four of these sources actually saw the switchboard in Trump’s bedroom.
“He listened in,” one of the sources said. This person had extensive knowledge of the phone system and related a story about a time when a staff member was speaking with a club member and, during the call, Trump interrupted to add his opinion.
There is no other way you could know what that conversation was about unless you were eavesdropping.
According to these sources, Trump could pick up his bedroom phone at any time and “listen to any conversation” happening at that moment. One of the other sources said that Trump had a “barge-in” ability, which allows the monitoring of phone calls.
Two other former employees of Mar-a-Lago (who happen to support Trump’s campaign) deny this. These two swear that The Donald only used the console to call other rooms. One of them called the accusations “ridiculous.” He said that the switchboard was for Trump to dial out. Maybe it’s just me but I don’t need an entire switchboard to use a land line. Who would? This isn’t 1920, after all.
Trump’s ex-butler says it was because The Donald “didn’t want to go through the front desk” to call pals at the resort. The butler, Anthony Senecal, doesn’t believe that Trump “would ever do that.”
Well, I believe he would. I’m betting I’m not alone. Considering that some of Trump’s campaign staff told the New York Times that they feared their offices might be bugged and the man’s general demeanor, it sounds perfectly reasonable. Trump is paranoid and thin-skinned. I have no problem believing that he would eavesdrop, especially on employees.
As if Donald Trump weren’t creepy enough, with his fixation on his daughter and all, we get this revelation. If Trump were to (gods forbid!) get into the White House, he’d make Tricky Dick Nixon look like a piker.
Featured image by Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images