PALM BEACH — We’ve seen some weird stuff in the so-called Shiny Sheet over the years, but nothing quite like what showed up overnight in the dying Palm Beach rag.
Society minder Shannon Donnelly, who mysteriously withstood every purge at the Palm Beach Daily News over the years, apparently went off the deep end after she was turned back at the gates of Mar-a-Lago.
She wanted to “cover” the Cancer Ball at the club — which, in Donnelly’s case, involves mainly sipping champagne and eating the so-so food — but someone obviously decided she was not welcome anywhere near the visiting President Donald Trump.
The daughter of a middle-class family who acts like a full-paying member of Palm Beach society, Donnelly then rushed home to her condo in West Palm Beach to write what amounts to a declaration of war against Mar-a-Lago.
It’s never a good idea to write in anger.
But since Donnelly’s readership these days might be about 200 on a good day, we’re giving her a real platform so she can spew her anger more broadly.
Here are the choice passages from her story:
How many days is it until end-of-term?
Because this “The President is here” stuff is getting real old, real quick.
So far, so good. It’s nothing that every resident of Palm Beach and West Palm Beach would disagree with.
The president is here. “The president is here,” said my boss, whose name I won’t mention but whose initials are Elizabeth Clarke. “We should probably have a presence at the Cancer Ball tonight in case he decides to make an appearance.”
Fine. A few calls and I’m all set with security clearance. A few swipes of a makeup brush — OK, a lot of swipes — a few rollers and a change of clothes, and I’m on my way. For about 30 feet. Then a dead stop on Southern Boulevard, where cars were backed up as drivers awaited the search, sniff and sweep of vehicles.
Because the president is here. Seventy minutes and one mile later, a polite man in a “Make America Great Again” baseball cap asks for my ID. I hand it over. “I’m sorry ma’am, but we don’t have you on the guest list. Would it be under another name?’
Welcome to the new reality, and it’s not the scribe of a two-bit paper who’s going to change that. Donnelly then proceeds to announce she thought of doing violence to the guy.
I wanted to smack him. Mostly for that “ma’am” thing, but also because I was annoyed of having spent all that time in my car only to get to a place where I could literally still see the dying orchid on my balcony in the very near distance.
“Do you want to call the reception desk and see if they have your name somewhere and they can call us? We can’t let you in if you’re not on the list. The president is here.”
I didn’t want to call reception because those calls invariably end up sounding like a “Don’t you know who I am?” But I did, because the president was here. They didn’t have me on their list either. “I’m going home,” I told the MAGA guy.
“Can somebody show me the best way out?” I text-messaged the photographer that I wasn’t coming, even though the president was there, because I couldn’t get past security.
We find it suspicious Donnelly needed someone to show her the way out. She’s found her way into Mar-a-Lago since Trump invented partying.
I was home in 90 seconds. I was in bed with the TV on in another 90. My phone was flashing like earrings on a Vegas drag queen. “The chairwoman is freaked that you’re not here. She’ll make some calls if you want to come back.”
“I’ll come back if she sends a Secret Service agent to pick me up with a big SUV and a bottle of wine.”
So, still waiting. I guess he’s not showing up because the president is here.
For most of her career in Palm Beach, Donnelly has wielded her pen like a weapon against society dames she didn’t like. She’s made some look silly while propping up those who paid attention to her, and allowed her into fundraisers free of charge.
It’s taken the unlikely election of Palm Beach’s clown king, someone who claimed to be one of her biggest fans, to show Donnelly the door.
And not a minute too soon.