Large and in charge. On the campaign trail, Donald Trump has often been seen wearing a white hat featuring his slogan, “Make America Great Again,” but at his Florida home, Mar-a-Lago, his staff are always watching to see if he’s wearing a red cap. It’s a sign that their boss is in a bad mood.
This is just one of the surprising revelations made by the Republican presidential candidate’s longtime butler, Anthony Senecal, in a new interview with the New York Times on March 15.
Senecal, 74, has worked at Mar-a-Lago for almost 60 years and for the billionaire businessman for nearly 30, and he knows how to cater to the former Apprentice star’s mercurial moods.
“You can always tell when the king is here,” he told the Times and detailed a day when he received word that his boss was en route to Florida and in a foul mood. Senecal quickly found a bugler to play “Hail to the Chief” as Trump’s limo arrived at his 118-room estate. No red hat needed after that.
The butler also revealed that Trump sleeps about four hours and rises before dawn, when he’s greeted at the door to his private quarters by Senecal holding a bundle of newspapers. And despite the fact that there is a salon on the premises, Trump insists on styling his own butterscotch mane.
Reporters have been quick to point out that the real estate tycoon has been prone to exaggeration on the campaign trail, and Senecal hinted that he’s just as fond of embellishment at home.
Mar-a-Lago, which was previously owned by cereal heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post, has a rich history, and Senecal recalled Trump telling guests that the nursery-themed tiles in daughter Ivanka‘s childhood bedroom were made by a young Walt Disney.
The Republican frontrunner caught his butler rolling his eyes and said, “You don’t like that, do you?”
When Senecal insisted that the story wasn’t true, Trump laughed and said, “Who cares?”
Trump’s longtime employee also talked about his boss’ three wives, describing current spouse Melania as exceptionally compassionate. He wasn’t quite as kind about second wife Marla Maples, stating that she “really didn’t belong here,” and he revealed that first wife Ivana was a hard taskmaster who would ask him to tell the gardeners to go inside because she wanted to swim naked in the pool.
While the estate doesn’t have quite as many shiny gold touches as Trump’s famous New York penthouse, it does have some decorations that are pure Trump.
When the library, which had been filled with rare first-edition books that no one in the family ever read, was turned into a bar, the mogul had a portrait of himself posing in tennis whites hung on the wall.
“I’ve been in other homes in Palm Beach — same exact painting,” Senecal said. “Just a different head.”
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