PALM Beach in Florida is where hard-won fortunes dissolve into soft-focus pleasure. Where men make their money by sorting through the wreckage of bankrupt companies then blow it on silk wallpaper and hot-lime linen trousers. The warm ocean breeze turns even the hardest Gordon Gekkos into fashion-loving, cocktail-sipping decorator’s darlings, chronicled in the “shiny sheet”, the gossip pages of the Palm Beach Daily News. Just over a century ago, Henry Flagler, John D Rockefeller’s business partner, brought northern money south to Florida by building railroads and hotels and encouraging fellow tycoons to join him each winter. As early as 1903 Vogue called Palm Beach “the Mecca of all desire”. But in all the decades since, nothing compares with the circus surrounding President-elect Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago, his oceanfront home. For as long as Mr Trump remains president, Palm Beach, as much as Washington and New York, is going to be a hub for his activities. It is his second home, a redoubt of old money that he has invaded, fought over and finally conquered. If he were the strolling kind, he could easily walk to see his proposed commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross, and the chair of his strategic and policy forum, Steve Schwarzman, the chairman and chief executive of Blackstone Group – not to mention the 30 or so other American billionaires who have homes in this small town, with an off-season population of 10,000. The values and mores of Palm Beach are going to be as much those of Mr Trump’s administration as anything he picked up in New York. These values start with the serious and guiltless pursuit of leisure. Most of America’s lingering Puritan or Quaker notions about business and its purpose were lost on Flagler’s trains south. They certainly do not make it into the baggage loaded these days on to the private jets at Teterboro, the private airport closest to New York. Even Mr Trump’s opulent penthouse atop Trump Tower in New York looks like a lean-to compared with the gaudy splendour of Mar-a-Lago. Ken Griffin may work like a demon when he is in Chicago running Citadel, his investment firm. But in Palm Beach, the Protestant work ethic can go hang. He has reportedly spent more than $145m to assemble the land on which to build his beach house. You do not have to worry about being bothered by any Occupy Wall Street holdouts along South Ocean Boulevard. For most of its history, Palm Beach had a tortured relationship with discretion. The tall hedges and gates suggested a desire for privacy. But the jaw-dropping mansions hinted at a contradictory Sun King tendency, a craving to be seen and admired. In the Trump era, the torture is gone. Palm Beach also used to value exclusivity, beyond mere cash. It is still a town where Wasps have their club, the Bath & Tennis Club, and the Jewish residents have theirs, the Palm Beach Country Club. For Wasps, Palm Beach is the southernmost point of the narrow isosceles known as the “Preppy Triangle”: Manhattan and Southampton on Long island are the other two.