Palm Beach County has drafted a resolution seeking relief from temporary flight restrictions that impact the Lantana Airport during President Trump’s trips to his Mar-a-Lago mansion on Palm Beach.
The resolution, up for discussion when county commissioners meet on Tuesday, states that: “The frequent imposition of TFRs have resulted in, and will continue to result in, significant losses to the aviation businesses operating at the Lantana Airport.”
Temporary flight restrictions during Trump’s visits have impacted all airports in the county, but they have been particularly costly for the Lantana Airport, located six miles south of West Palm Beach.
A county report in February noted that the airport lost $30,000 in business during one of Trump’s visits.
The county’s resolution directs County Administrator Verdenia Baker or her designee to work with the county’s congressional delegation, the U.S. Secret Service, the Federal Aviation Administration and the Department of Homeland Security to find a way for the Lantana airport to continue operations during Trump’s visits.
The Palm Beach Post has reported that the county has incurred yuuuge costs providing additional security and roadway management during Trump’s trips to his Mar-a-Lago spread. The county is conducting a review to get a better handle on the costs and benefits of Trump’s frequent travel here.
Spicer was asked about the county’s costs during a briefing Monday afternoon.
The reporter, Gabby Morrongiello of The Washington Examiner, said: “Palm Beach County has said that it’s costing $60,000 a day in overtime pay every time the President comes to visit West Palm Beach. He’s slated to go there again this weekend according to some reports. Is the President taking any steps to ensure that taxpayers aren’t saddled with tremendous costs in his travel habits, considering he was so critical of his predecessor on that matter?”
Spicer responded: “Well, Gabby, the security for the President and the First Family is set by the Secret Service. As you know, they determine the security measures that need to be taken to protect the President — frankly, any President. So I’m going to leave it up to the Secret Service to decide what security measures and steps are taken to protect the President.”
Spicer continued: “And, as you know, I mean, this…depending on…it transcends administrations. Wherever the President goes, they need to make sure that the President and the First Family is safe. That’s something that I think — we rely on the Secret Service to make those determinations. They continue to do a phenomenal job making sure that the First Family and the President and the Vice President are protected, and we have full confidence in the decisions that they make.”
That wasn’t the answer folks here wanted to hear, which would be something along the lines of: “Why, yes, Gabby, we plan to urge congressional leaders to set aside funding to reimburse Palm Beach County in full for additional costs incurred during the president’s trips there.”
Still, Morrongiello did the county a solid in asking that question. And she didn’t get smacked with a podium or blasted with soapy water.
Business have reported some $250,000 in losses — with several not yet reporting — just from the president’s first visit last weekend. With Trump set to return again today for a weekend that includes talks with the prime minister of Japan, some firms have said repeated Trump visits could run them out of business.
Airport officials have stressed it is the Secret Service, not Trump, which imposed the restrictions. They all acknowledged the need to protect the president and said they recognize the Secret Service can’t afford to be 95 percent right. But they’ve said publicly, and in correspondence with both the Secret Service and the White House, that they hope the agency will find ways to both protect Trump and avoid harming businesses. Officials also have called on Trump himself to lobby the Secret Service.
Also invited: private aircraft owner Kelly Gottlieb; Florida Aero Paint manager Chris Cura; Palm Beach Helicopters owner Dan Crowe; Palm Beach Flight Training owner Marian Smith; Skywords Advertising owner Jorge Gonzalez; a representative of Sarasota Avionics; private aircraft owner Phil Valente; and Palm Beach Aircraft Services owner Dave Johnson, who also chairs the airport’s advisory board and is local representative to the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, which represents small plane owners nationwide.
Frankel’s scheduled to talk to reporters following the meeting.
County Airports Director Bruce Pelly told The Palm Beach Post Wednesday only that he was “still working on” his presentation about how the county will handling landings by Air Force One at Palm Beach International Airport, a short ride west of Mar-a-Lago.
Even before the Donald’s stunning upset win on Nov. 8, the county was mulling how to handle his visits should he become president. He visited for Thanksgiving and is there now for the Christmas-New Year holidays. The Federal Aviation Administration issued a temporary flight restriction for the airspace over Mar-a-Lago, to run through Monday night. It allows flights into and out of Palm Beach International Airport to fly over the club, but bans smaller planes without FAA approval. Trump has been spending holidays at Palm Beach for two decades.
Palm Beach County is seeking federal reimbursement for costs associated with escorting and providing security for President-elect Donald Trump, who spent the Thanksgiving holiday at his Mar-A-Lago mansion on Palm Beach.
County Administrator Verdenia Baker said the cost of escorting Trump’s motorcade and providing additional security over the holiday was roughly $250,000.
Baker’s staff is drafting a letter to the county’s U.S. congressional delegation to seek reimbursement. The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office is keeping track of Trump-related costs.
Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Richard Oftedal said he had to deal with some other cases; he heard arguments for about 45 minutes on Monday, then tabled the rest of the hearing to Tuesday afternoon.
Trump’s club is seeking money for the alleged damages and wants to force the county to keep jets from flying over the 90-year-old complex built for Marjorie Merriweather Post, daughter of the founder of General Foods. Trump bought it in 1985 and later converted it to a private club. The club claims airport noise and jet fuel emissions have harmed the mansion.