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Wednesday, March 3, 2021

The five former White House staffers setting up his Mar-a-Lago office

Five junior staffers have followed former President Donald Trump from the White House to Florida to set up his personal office and plan his next moves.

The team is using a property at Trump’s private Mar-a-Lago club to get organized, said a former White House official who is familiar with the situation.

“It sounds a bit like a pool house,” he said.

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Trump arrived in Florida on Wednesday with a small staff drawn from the junior ranks of the White House — similar to the way previous presidents adjusted to life after office.

Margo Martin, a White House press assistant who was a familiar sight at Trump press interactions cajoling journalists into (and then out of) the Oval Office or other locations, is handling communications.

The rest of the team includes Nick Luna, formerly the then-president’s body man (or personal assistant); Will Russell, director of the Trump White House advance team; Molly Michael, who worked as Oval Office coordinator; and Cassidy Hutchinson, an aide to former chief of staff Mark Meadows.

Margo Martin seen through a window of the West Wing with President Trump, Friday, April 17, 2020

Alex Brandon/AP

They will be joined in Florida by Luna’s wife, also named Cassidy. She worked for Jared Kushner at the White House and will continue working for the 45th president’s son-in-law, who also is moving to the Sunshine State with his wife, presidential daughter Ivanka Trump, and their children.

Martin and Hutchinson are both under 25.

“He has a fairly young crew down there with him, which is typical for presidents once they leave office,” the former official said.

“For younger staffers, he is still a very popular figure, and it is great experience. If you look at the Obama years, I think he took some junior staff, as well.”

Trump has begun life after the White House in much the same way he spent holidays and weekends at Mar-a-Lago.

On Thursday morning, he arrived at his West Palm Beach golf club to play 18 holes. He returned the following day for lunch at his regular table in the Grill Room, which looks out across the course.

His new team is apparently sharing responsibilities as it gets set up, mostly placing calls and organizing office space and logistics.

“If he needs to get hold of Sen. Graham, then they’ll facilitate that,” the former official said.

Trump has hinted at a 2024 run for the White House and has a colossal campaign war chest that is expected to make him a major influence in next year’s midterm elections — with control of the House and Senate up for grabs.

But after the whirlwind of last year’s campaign, followed by legal challenges to the election result, and the turmoil of a final two weeks dominated by the fallout from the assault on the United States Capitol by some of his supporters, relaxing in the Florida sun is the first order of the day.

“He’s golfing, so there’s not a lot for his team to do,” said the source.

With an impeachment article expected to be sent to the Senate on Monday, that phase might not last long.

Presidential historian Martha Kumar said it was common for presidents to leave office with only a few younger staff. Trump was now a private citizen with few of the daily demands he faced in office.

But unlike his predecessors, he will soon need to staff up his communications and legal teams.

“While he is powering down, in some ways, he has to power up, in other ways, and focus his attention,” she said. “Other presidents could take years to write their books, but he has impeachment right before him — and a full legal plate.”

Read More at Washingtonexaminer

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