President Trump was granted a city waiver to have a helipad built at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla., but it is allegedly not being used properly.
According to an op-ed by Alexander Ives of the Town of Palm Beach’s Architectural Commission, Trump has used the Mar-a-Lago helipad twice: once on April 8, 2017 and once on Dec. 22, 2017. Ives writes that a private business helicopter with corporate Trump logo emblazoned on the side was what took off and landed.
But, when Trump was granted a waiver to allow the helicopter use by the Town of Palm Beach Town Council in January 2017, the helipad at Mar-a-Lago was designated for the “take-off and landing of helicopters pursuant to the provisions of Section 14-34 of the Town Code of Ordinances during the term(s) of office of the President-elect Donald J. Trump for business related to the Presidency only.”
“Given that both times the helipad has been used a private business helicopter with the corporate Trump logo landed and took off, it would seem to violate the waiver allowing ‘for business related to the Presidency only,’” Ives wrote in the Palm Beach Daily News on Saturday, adding it has nothing to do with Trump or his policies.
“This is an issue of the rule of law and no one — not even the President of the United States and not even in Palm Beach — should or can be above it,” Ives concluded.
The White House confirmed the Trump corporate helicopter at Mar-a-Lago “is not being used for an official government function and that no private entity will be reimbursed for its use.”
White House spokesman Raj Shah told the Palm Beach Daily News neither the White House nor the Marines that requested the helipad or were involved in building it or paying for it.
The helicopter that sits on the pad, emblazoned with the red and black Trump logo is co-owned by DT Connect II and DT Connect II Member Corp. Eric and Donald Trump Jr. — the president’s sons — are executives at those companies, according to state corporate records.
So, who is using the helicopter, and why?
“I wish I could answer that,” Mayor Gail Coniglio said, adding, “If that’s the case and it’s being used for official business, so be it.”
Palm Beach Fire-Rescue battalion chief Sean Baker said he has “no clue” who is using the helicopter, adding his employees “are called to Mar-a-Lago when the Secret Service needs us.”
The helipad was originally approved by the town council with the intent that it would hold Marine One for when the president needs to go to and from Palm Beach International Airport.