This Is The Latest Thing Trump Has Had To Give Up Post-Presidency

The use of Marine One, which refers to any of the helicopters available exclusively for the use of the President of the United States, was one of the many perks Donald Trump enjoyed while he was Commander-in-Chief. These choppers are state-of-the-art, and Britannica says they can fly more than 150 miles an hour and can hold up about 14 passengers and includes a bathroom. 

But because Trump doesn't have access to Marine One anymore, his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, will also be giving up a facility it has had since 2017 — a helipad, which was originally built to accommodate then President Trump's needs. Town Manager Kirk Blouin said personnel with ties to Mar-a-Lago had not asked about keeping the facility, but about how to have the helicopter landing site removed (via Palm Beach Daily News). 

A permit to restore the site to its original condition won't come cheap. The Palm Beach contractors hired to do the job say that it will cost them $15,000 — and it's not known when the demolition is to begin, or how long it will go on for.

Marine One was not popular with Trump's neighbors

The helipad was not exactly popular among Trump's Palm Beach neighbors, even though a proposal to build the chopper landing site had been approved by the town council and the National Trust for Historic Preservation (via Palm Beach Daily News). The helipad, which is still currently located on the west side of Mar-a-Lago, was meant to allow Trump to travel from Palm Beach International Airport to the resort by air, and without causing any traffic problems for the club's nearby neighbors.

Still, residents weren't too keen over the idea of having helicopters in their immediate vicinity, since the aircraft were described as loud, noisy, and "[generated] significant downdraft during landings," according to the Palm Beach Daily News. Trump's use of Marine One was also problematic because any travel involving the choppers meant between three to five helicopters would be in the area at any given point in time and in order to protect the president. All of them also come close to the helipad, even though only one of them eventually touches the ground.

The helipad has been at the center of past controversies

The helipad, which was eventually built on the western side of Mar-a-Lago, wasn't without its controversies. While the facility was only approved "for business relating solely to the office of the President," private aircraft were seen on the club's private grounds, in violation of the original permit to operate the helipad (via Palm Beach Post). The helicopter, which appeared on New Year's Eve of 2017, stayed on the Mar-a-Lago helipad for more than a week.  

Palm Beach Public Safety Director Kirk Blouin said at the time that the residents and the town council were aware of the situation. "It was a private helicopter on the grounds of Mar-a-Lago. That in and of itself may be evidence of a violation of our town codes." The town was prepared to send a warning letter to the attorney representing Mar-a-Lago if it decided a violation had been committed; and if it happened again, there would a town board hearing.

The helipad also ended up being a something of a white elephant, since Trump barely used Marine One when he was in Palm Beach. Instead he preferred to drive to Mar-a-Lago, since it gave him a chance to journey on roads that might feature both fans and protesters (via Palm Beach Daily News).

Trump is fighting to make Mar-a-Lago a permanent residence

Demolishing the helipad is important, particularly if the move is one that will make Mar-a-Lago's neighbors happy. When Trump transformed the site from a private residence into a club during the 1990s, Trump had agreed to a clause which forbade club members from living onsite for more than 21 days a year (via The Washington Post). Before they had approved of the change, the town council had asked then-attorney Paul Rampell if Trump would reside on the premises. The answer then was "No, except that he will be a member of the club and would be entitled to use its guest rooms," Rampell said. 

His current lawyers are now trying overturn this deal, because they say don't think that anything that Trump might have said before the agreement was signed is relevant. They also say that because Palm Beach's zoning laws allow for employees to live on the premises of private clubs, that Trump can be considered an employee because he is the president of Mar-a-Lago LLC, which owns the membership-only organization.