In the comparatively short time that the president has been in office, he has repeatedly proven himself to not exactly have the highest regard for the law, to put it lightly. He has flouted the law to the point of being credibly accused of obstruction of justice because of his abrupt firing of FBI Director James Comey early last year. Comey, at the time, was leading the Russia investigation.
Another highlight of the president’s seemingly relentless campaign against law and order came in February of last year, when he took to Twitter to slam the “so-called judge” who had ruled against his Muslim-targeting travel ban.
Now, there is another apparent issue with the president’s respect for the law, this time down in Palm Beach, Florida, where his infamous Mar-a-Lago resort is located.
Trump’s businesses are apparently using a helipad constructed relatively recently at Mar-a-Lago and intended solely for government use.
Last Saturday, The Palm Beach Post published a letter from member of the town’s Architectural Commission Alexander C. Ives, who pointed out the discrepancy between what the helipad was intended for and what it is apparently being used for.
In his letter, Ives wrote:
‘This is not an issue of politics and has nothing to do with whether one does or does not agree with President Trump’s 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 wrote that the helipad has only been used twice since its construction, once on April 8, 2017, and once on December 22, 2017, ahead of the president’s Christmas trip to Mar-A-Lago, which he is concluding on New Year’s Day.
Both times that the helipad has been used, according to Ives, it’s been used by a Trump branded helicopter. This contradicts the allowance made for the helipad by the town council early in 2017, which allowed helicopter landings “during the term(s) of office of the President-elect Donald J. Trump for business related to the Presidency only.”
The Palm Beach Post published a report this past Sunday about the appearance of the Trump branded helicopter on the Mar-a-Lago helipad, revealing that city officials had “no idea” what the helipad was being used for. Palm Beach Mayor Gail Coniglio and spokesman for Palm Beach Fire-Rescue Sean Baker were among the city officials to speak to the publication.
Since the story’s initial publication, the White House has confirmed that the helicopter was not being used for “an official government function,” and thus, whoever was using the craft was in possible violation of city rules.
The initial usage of the helipad by a Trump branded helicopter came just a month or so after it was first built.
President Trump's private helicopter just landed at Mar-a-Lago. First time since the helipad was built last month. pic.twitter.com/E2QmKSL6Ry
— Aleese Kopf (@aleesekopf) April 8, 2017
The Palm Beach Post notes that local officials had hoped that Trump would use the helipad for Marine One trips to and from Palm Beach International Airport in place of motorcade trips that cause big traffic problems. Trump, however, has not done so.
The president would do well to act as though he understands that the law applies to him, just as it does to every other American. He can’t get out of some form of accountability for a Trump branded helicopter using the helipad at Mar-a-Lago, and he can’t get out of accountability for the Russia scandal, either.