What It Was Like in Palm Beach During Trump's Visit With Japan's Prime Minister

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A TV news crew in front of the Mar-a-Lago Resort on Feb. 11

Hotels were overrun with guests and security, and there was hardly a room to be had Saturday night.

It was an unusually wild weekend in Palm Beach, and locals felt as if their tranquil surroundings were under siege as a confluence of politicos and moguls converged on the tony town.

A1A, the main road that hugs the beach, was all but shut down and flights were disrupted, thanks to the arrival of President Donald Trump with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife Akie in tow, President Bill Clinton staying at The Breakers to attend a wedding, and nearly 500 of the country’s 1 percent there to celebrate billionaire Stephen Schwarzman’s 70th birthday.

Schwarzman is an old friend of Trump’s who flew to Florida on Air Force One after a recent meeting at the White House, and he is an adviser on the president’s Strategic and Policy Forum, so people assumed he would be attending the Blackstone Group CEO’s festivities.

A party insider told us it was determined the president’s presence would be too disruptive, but a group of Trump protesters were so certain that they attempted a rally in front of Schwarzman’s Four Winds estate, which is just up the road from Mar-a-Lago. Like most in Palm Beach this weekend, they couldn’t get close.

Hotels, too, were overrun with guests and security, and there was hardly a room to be had Saturday night. The Four Seasons Palm Beach looked more like the Four Seasons Beverly Hills on Oscar night, with all the hair and makeup stylists arriving and people hob-nobbing in the lobby. A team of eight security people huddled outside one VIP's room on the third floor, sending a stream of alerts (“They are coming out soon to walk the dog!’’).

Next door at the Tideline, Chinese dancers and musicians, some flying in from Shanghai, co-opted an entire floor to prep for the festivities. “I’ve got the Lily Cai dancers on the bus; where is the jar juggler?’’ asked one wrangler.

Though Trump was a no-show at his pal’s soiree, first daughter Ivanka did attend with her husband Jared Kushner, as did Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Mitt Romney, and Steve Mnuchin, Trump’s Treasury Secretary pick and founder of RatPac-Dune Entertainment, the financier of X-Men and Avatar among other films.

Apart from the Year of the Rooster-themed performers, fireworks illuminated the beach and there was a surprise musical guest – Gwen Stefani. Art dealer Larry Gagosian didn’t miss the opportunity to mingle in a room full of some of the world’s biggest collectors, and Jeff Koons and the Hilton sisters also were spotted at the bash.

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