No Trump corporate helicopter at Mar-a-Lago today


When President Trump returned to Mar-a-Lago on Friday, he did not bring with him a Trump corporate helicopter.

The controversial helipad at Mar-a-Lago, which is to be used only for presidential business, sits empty. But questions about why a Trump corporate helicopter sat on the helipad during the Trump family’s 10-day holiday vacation remain unanswered and Palm Beach officials would like some.

The town council sent a letter to the town’s police chief, who sent a letter to the Trump Organization, asking for a meeting to clarify the definition of “official presidential business,” said town Mayor Gail Coniglio.

MORE: Complete coverage of President Trump in Palm Beach

Until Donald Trump became president, aircraft were forbidden from landing in the exclusive island town. But the town agreed to allow a helipad to be built and helicopters to land at Mar-a-Lago with certain conditions: The helipad must be removed when the president leaves office. Until then, the helipad can be used only for official presidential business.

But the council never defined “official presidential business.” Two Trump family members — daughter Ivanka and son-in-law-Jared Kushner — are members of the White House staff and were at Mar-a-Lago over the holidays. However, a White House spokesman denied that the Trump helicopter was being used for “an official government function” over Christmas and New Year’s weeks.

White House spokesman Raj Shah also said that neither the White House nor the Marines requested the helipad or were involved in building it or paying for it.

Town staff members and residents hoped Trump would use the helipad to land Marine One - the presidential helicopter - on his way to and from Palm Beach International Airport. The hope was that the helipad would help alleviate traffic. That hasn’t happened and the motorcade continues to stop traffic.

The town approved the helipad over the objection of some residents about noise, downdraft, personal use of the helipad by friends, family and Mar-a-Lago members and setting a precedent for other residents to seek their own helipads.

The helipad was completed in February and first used in April by the same Trump corporate helicopter. It is not known who used the helicopter then, but it was not the president. The Secret Service told The Associated Press in April that the president can’t fly on a private chopper.



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