My Trip Inside the Lion’s Den: An Afternoon at Mar-a-Lago with the Trump Family

This is a true story, and although I lived it, I still find it hard to believe

Travis W. King
16 min readOct 25, 2022


When we joined the short queue of cars at the beach club’s entrance, I noticed two heavily armed guards wearing armored vests and holding the type of guns they don’t sell at Walmart. I looked at my host from the passenger seat and said, “Whoa, that’s pretty intense.” He laughed and said, “Yeah, don’t worry, but I’m pretty sure I know what that means!”

I squinted my eyes and wrinkled my brow, as if to say, Go on…

My host, Gus (let’s just call him Gus), looked at the guards, then back at me, and said, “It means the former President is here. It means he’s on the grounds.”

After a long, hollow second, I asked him, “Where the fuck are we, man?”

Photo by Dalton Caraway on Unsplash

He laughed, revealing, “My beach club — Welcome to Mar-a-Lago!” As the queue lurched again, he put the car in drive, and we approached the two guards with massive guns.

Gus knew my politics a bit, so, when he clocked the look on my face, he was nice enough to offer, “We don’t have to go here. We can pick another place, but I thought you’d like it — or that you would at least find it interesting.”

I took a beat and thought, Well, I am a story collector, and this is certainly going to be a fucking story. I covered both of my eyes with my palms, shook my head, and finally acquiesced.

“Yeah, I guess we’re already here. Let’s do it.”

Gus flashed his membership to one of the guards and we were granted access to the lion’s den, to the cream-colored castle. Leaning back in the passenger seat of Gus’s black luxury car, I couldn’t help but cackle while asking the universe, Ah haha, what the fuck is happening?

Gus laughed too and said, “I bet you didn’t think this would happen today!”

We parked in front of a beautifully manicured lawn, and, as I slammed the door shut and looked around, I thought to myself, I didn’t think this would happen if I lived 100 lifetimes. How the fuck did I end up here?



Travis W. King

Traveling, writing, & working abroad for 10 years. Former Remote Year Dir. of Community. Check out my travel memoir—Not That Anyone Asked—at