Trump in Palm Beach: Potential relief for Lantana airport for lost business

U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel, D-West Palm Beach, with Stellar Aviation President Jonathan Miller and County Commissioner Dave Kerner at Lantana airport in 2017. (Bruce R. Bennett/The Palm Beach Post)

Palm Beach County’s Lantana airport — forced to effectively shut down whenever President Donald Trump visits Mar-a-Lago — is inching a little closer to getting some relief from the federal government.

spending bill approved by a House Appropriations subcommittee this week includes $3.5 million to reimburse airports and related businesses that are affected by the temporary flight restrictions imposed when Trump visits Palm Beach or his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey.

Key language for Lantana airport in a House appropriations bill.

The money, for the budget year that begins Oct. 1, has not been approved by the full committee or the full House or the U.S. Senate. But it was hailed as a significant step by U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel, D-West Palm Beach, whose district includes the Lantana airport and Mar-a-Lago.

“Great news!” Frankel tweeted this morning. She has worked on the issue with U.S. Rep. Leonard Lance, R-N.J., whose district includes Trump’s Bedminster club.

The president of the company that runs operations at Lantana airport estimated in January that he’d lost about $500,000 during Trump’s visits.

The Secret Service prohibits flights in and out of the Lantana airport — officially known as Palm Beach County Park Airport — whenever the president is in town because the airport is less than 7 miles from Mar-a-Lago. Trump has made 17 visits to Palm Beach since taking office.


Trump still trails John F. Kennedy for Palm Beach visits, Truman for Florida stays

Before boarding Air Force One on Sunday, President Donald Trump stopped for a picture with motorcycle cops from the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office, West Palm Beach, Delray Beach and Palm Beach Gardens. (Melanie Bell/The Palm Beach Post)

PALM BEACH — President Donald Trump wrapped up a six-day Florida trip on Sunday — pausing before he boarded Air Force One to greet motorcycle cops and Air Force personnel and pose for pictures.

Trump’s latest Mar-a-Lago visit was his 17th trip to Palm Beach as president — but he still trails John F. Kennedy for presidential Palm Beach stays, and he’s far behind Harry Truman for presidential time in Florida.

Trump’s latest trip included a two-day summit with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Trump arrived in Palm Beach last Monday after a stop in Hialeah to promote tax cuts.  He also took a side trip Thursday to Key West to visit Joint Interagency Task Force-South, a headquarters for fighting drug smuggling and human trafficking.

Since becoming president, Trump has spent at least a portion of 72 days in Palm Beach. The actual time he has logged in Palm Beach County — primarily at Mar-a-Lago and his nearby Trump International Golf Club — has been roughly 53 days. That’s more than 11 percent of his presidency.

Kennedy, whose family owned an oceanfront compound on North County Road until 1995, spent at least a portion of 97 days in Palm Beach while he was president, according to records from the Kennedy Presidential Library.

It might be several months before Trump catches Kennedy as the leader in Palm Beach presidential visits. Trump didn’t make any Mar-a-Lago visits between mid-April and Thanksgiving last year.

The president who spent the most time in Florida was Truman, who between 1946 and 1952 spent all or part of 192 days in Key West at a U.S. Navy facility that became known as the “Little White House.”

Harry Truman in Key West, John F. Kennedy at St. Edwards Catholic Church in Palm Beach.

Why Donald Trump won’t be at Mar-a-Lago this weekend…

President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach. (Richard Graulich/The Palm Beach Post)

From November to April, President Donald Trump loves to spend the weekend at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach.

He’s made 14 visits to Palm Beach since taking office in January 2017.

But barring a major surprise — something on the order of, say, agreeing to meet with North Korean “Rocket Man” Kim Jong-un — the president won’t be in town this weekend.

Trump is scheduled to travel, however. On Saturday, he’ll be near Pittsburgh for a campaign rally for his 2020 re-election bid — and to try to stave off a potentially embarrassing defeat for the GOP in a special congressional election.

In a western Pennsylvania district that Trump carried by 20 points in 2016, polls show that Republican Rick Saccone is struggling against Democrat Conor Lamb as Tuesday’s election approaches. A similar Trump rally the weekend before a special Alabama Senate election failed to deliver the deep-red state for accused child molester Roy Moore.


Mar-a-Lago Club member to Trump on Mueller probe: ‘Stay away from it’

West Palm Beach resident Christopher Ruddy talks with CNN’s Brian Stelter on Sunday.

PALM BEACH — After tweeting several times Saturday about the Russian collusion probe and his view that a Republican House Intelligence Committee memo “totally vindicates ‘Trump,'” President Donald Trump maintained Twitter silence on the topic Sunday while wrapping up his latest weekend at Mar-a-Lago.

While it’s too early to tell whether Sunday’s restraint represented a strategic shift or a mere aberration, Trump friend and Mar-a-Lago Club member Christopher Ruddy had to be pleased.

Update: Before 8 a.m. today, Trump was back to tweeting about the Russia probe…

Ruddy, CEO of Boca Raton-based Newsmax Media, told CNN on Sunday that “this whole case has been about a false, fake, phony allegation of a crime” and that neither special counsel Robert Mueller nor the media has produced any evidence of collusion between Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russia.

Ruddy, who said he chatted with Trump on Saturday night, said he doesn’t think the president should fire Mueller or Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, two personnel moves that have drawn much speculation.

Ruddy said Trump should take a hands-off approach to dealing with the investigation, emulating Ronald Reagan rather than Richard Nixon.

“There’s two ways of a president approaching an investigation like this. One is the Nixon model. Nixon didn’t know about the burglary, he didn’t order it. Yet he got involved in the investigation, he fired the prosecutor. It did not end up well for him. Reagan model – 26 indictments and plea agreements of officials. Reagan stayed completely out of it. He remained popular the whole time,” Ruddy said.

“My view is the president should wall himself off from this. None of the crimes that have been involved so far with Mueller involve his campaign or impact him. The president should stay away from it,” said Ruddy, who said he had chatted briefly with Trump on Saturday night.

Trump in Palm Beach: En route to golf course, president claims vindication

President Donald Trump arriving at Palm Beach International Airport on Friday night with son Barron and first lady Melania Trump. (Andres Leiva/The Palm Beach Post)

President Donald Trump this morning says Friday’s release of a Republican House Intelligence Committee memo “totally vindicates” him in the Russia collusion probe.

The president made the declaration via Twitter at 9:40 a.m. as his motorcade rolled from Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach to the Trump International Golf Club in unincorporated West Palm Beach.

Trump arrived Friday night for his 12th presidential visit to Mar-a-Lago. He’s expected to go back to Washington on Sunday night.

Click here to check out Christine Stapleton’s running coverage of Trump in Palm Beach County all day at

Of note to Trump Twitterologists: Today’s tweet, referring to himself in the third person and quotation marks (“Trump”) is only the second time Trump has used this formulation as president. The only other time was last October:

“Can’t believe I got a good story in the @washingtonpost. It discusses the enthusiasm of ‘Trump’ voters through campaign…” the president tweeted Oct. 7.

Trump in Palm Beach: Grieving Tennessee dad buys local pre-Super Bowl ad to reach him

Steve Eimers in a scene from his 30-second TV ad aimed at President Donald Trump in Palm Beach.

While lavishly produced TV ads fill the airwaves during the Super Bowl and its hours of pregame coverage Sunday, Steve Eimers of Lenoir City, Tennessee, is hoping his low-budget spot running exclusively in the Palm Beach market catches the eye of President Donald Trump.

Figuring Trump would be at Mar-a-Lago for the weekend (a guess that appears to be correct), Eimers bought a 30-second ad on the West Palm Beach NBC affiliate, WPTV Channel 5, to air before the game and make his plea to meet with the president about highway safety.

President Donald Trump watching the Super Bowl last year at Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach with first lady Melania Trump and former chief of staff Reince Priebus. (Allen Eyestone/The Palm Beach Post)

Eimers says a defective guardrail caused his 17-year-old daughter’s death in 2016. The guardrail manufacturer says its product has passed safety tests in accordance with federal standards and “no road safety equipment that can prevent injury every time a driver fails to stay on the road.”

Click here to read the entire story.

Eric Trump says dad would be ‘hugely impeded’ if Dems take Congress

Eric Trump and wife Lara speaking to Republican activists at the West Palm Beach Marriott today. (Damon Higgins/The Palm Beach Post)

WEST PALM BEACH — Eric Trump thanked local Republican activists for their grass-roots efforts today and warned that his father’s agenda would be “hugely, hugely impeded” if the GOP loses its majorities in the House and Senate in the 2018 midterm elections.

Eric Trump, wife Lara Trump and Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel spoke to about 100 party activists at a training session at the West Palm Beach Marriott. They are in town for a $100,000-per-couple fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago tonight for President Donald Trump‘s re-election campaign.

The president was scheduled to headline tonight’s fundraiser, but his attendance is now unlikely because of the federal government shutdown.

Eric Trump said his father won in 2016 because Republicans had a better ground game than Hillary Clinton and Democrats.

“You are the soldiers on the front line. We have your back. We truly love you,” Eric Trump told the group.

He said their efforts will be needed in this year’s midterm elections.

“I am so proud of my father. He’s done an amazing job for this country…He pledged one very simple message and that’s to make America great again and that’s what he’s doing and we have to continue the fight,” he said.

Republicans have majorities in the House and Senate, but more than eight decades of historical trends favor the party that is out of the White House in non-presidential election years and polls show Democrats have an advantage in generic ballot tests against the GOP.

“We’re very, very lucky that we have majorities in the House and Senate. I mean, we’re very, very, very lucky. But let’s not take that for granted as a party because honestly 2018 will be as important as ever,” Eric Trump said. “His great work is hugely, hugely impeded if we lose that I’m going to fight every single day between now and those elections to make sure that those majorities are stronger than ever.”

Lara Trump said her father-in-law “is draining the swamp and he is making America great again…It is so important the we keep him there, that we keep the majority in the House and the Senate.”




Trump’s first year: JFK comparisons, golf, missiles, the 561 Cabinet, other Palm Beach highlights

Presidents in Palm Beach: JFK and Jackie with kids on Easter in 1963; Donald and Melania Trump at Easter last year. (Kennedy photo from JFK Library; Trump photo by Melanie Bell/Palm Beach Daily News)

PALM BEACH — John F. Kennedy was America’s first Palm Beach president, but Donald Trump is redefining the role.

Today marks the one-year anniversary of Trump taking the oath of office to become the 45th president. About 10 percent of Trump’s presidency has been spent in Palm Beach County — mostly at his Mar-a-Lago estate or the Trump International Golf Club in unincorporated West Palm Beach.

President Donald Trump teeing off at Trump International Golf Club, from a video shot by golfer Taylor Funk.

Trump has played an estimated 32 rounds of golf during his South Florida trips, but also conducted consequential national and international business.

Click here to read the full story — including the al fresco situation room, the 561 Cabinet, the missiles of Mar-a-Lago and other highlights — and find out how Trump’s Palm Beach visits compare to JFK’s.

‘I’m not a racist,’ Trump declares; his Palm Beach weekend ends today

President Donald Trump and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., speak to reporter before dinner at Trump International Golf Club on Sunday Night. (Richard Graulich/The Palm Beach Post)

President Donald Trump pushed back Sunday night against accusations that his disparagement of Haiti and African nations during recent immigration talks reflects racism.

The president wraps up a three-day weekend at Mar-a-Lago today with a planned return to Washington aboard Air Force One this afternoon.

“What do you say to people who say you’re a racist?” Trump was asked by a reporter as he visited his Trump International Golf Club in unincorporated West Palm Beach for dinner Sunday night with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.


“No, no, I’m not a racist. I am the least racist person you have ever interviewed, that I can tell you,” Trump responded.

The president also denied reports he used the term “shithole countries” during a Thursday discussion of immigration policy in the Oval Office.

“Well, did you see what various senators in the room said about my comments? They weren’t made,” Trump told reporters.

Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., who played golf with Trump at Trump International on Dec. 26, attended the Thursday meeting and said Sunday the president did not use the vulgarism widely attributed to him over the last few days. Sen. Dick Durbin,

An alternate vulgarity theory emerged Sunday, with conservative National Review editor Rich Lowry suggesting on ABC’s “This Week” that Trump might have used the term “shithouse” instead of “shithole.” The pro-Trump Breitbart News was among those running an account of Lowry’s remarks.


Today: President Donald Trump arriving for MLK weekend at Mar-a-Lago

President Donald Trump arriving at Palm Beach International Airport on Dec. 22. (Photos by Richard Graulich/The Palm Beach Post)

President Donald Trump will arrive at Palm Beach International Airport tonight to spend the three-day Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend at Mar-a-Lago.

Be sure to check out, and @gbennettpost on Twitter all weekend for the latest on the president’s visit.

This will be Trump’s 11th visit as president to his Mar-a-Lago estate.

He also appears likely to return next weekend.

Trump was last in town on New Year’s Day, when he wrapped up a 10-day stay with a round of golf with professionals Fred Funk and son Taylor Funk before departing in the afternoon.