When President Trump is bad for business
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President Trump has visited Mar-a-Lago in West Palm Beach, Fla., three times already in his presidency. This has caused a ruckus among the private businesses in the area due to security issues.

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That means while Trump wants to champion businesses, his trips have harmed many small businesses.

 

There is an upside, though. Since people cannot reach some of these businesses when the president is in town, they trek along another road and visit other businesses they never went to be before.

Rep. Lois FrankelLois Jane FrankelOmar feuds with Jewish Democrats Democrats fume over silence from DeSantis on Florida election Florida Rep. Alcee Hastings dies at 84 MORE (D-Fla.) recently met with employees at the Lantana Airport. WPTV reported that the airport faces restrictions when Trump visits that “forbid any airplane from taking off, force airplanes to land at a ‘gateway airport’ for an inspection before landing at Lantana, and do not allow flight training within 30 miles of Mar-a-Lago.”

The short notice does not help, either. Businesses have no time to plan, especially since those who conduct banner flying, and many have the most business on the weekends. One company lost $30,000 in three weeks and “does 97 percent of its business on the weekends.”

Palm Beach Aircraft Services has called Lantana home for 27 years, but owner David Johnson said the company had to rent a hangar at North Palm County General Aviation Airport.

Pilots suggested a few changes to Rep. Frankel in order to salvage their businesses; they include limiting the number of runways in use at Lantana, bringing in a temporary control tower and bringing in TSA agents to screen pilots and passengers.

The visits have also caused confusion among the residents, who do not know how to deal with such large security measures. Last weekend, 12 private planes violated the flight restrictions sent out by the Federal Aviation Administration. Bill Tyson has only 10 hours left before he receives his certification to become a pilot trainer. He has no idea how these measures work, which makes it easy for someone like him to violate them.

The FAA said “it will continue to reach out and educate local pilots about the restrictions.” Tyson understands the need to protect the president, but he can only fly on the weekends, since he works during the week.

Jorge Gonzales owns an aerial advertising business, which cannot operate out of Lantana when Trump is in town. In two weeks, Gonzales lost $30,000 in contracts. He claims that if Trump keeps up his business, he will have to close shop by May 1.

Unfortunately it’s not just the small airport feeling the effects. Businesses on Worth Avenue, an upscale shopping district, have seen a drop in sales due to Trump’s visits. Jeff Greene’s Tideline Resort and Spa lost a massive group “to the Seagate Hotel in Delray Beach” because of the traffic.

Those who have benefited have seen business boom: Spencer Antle, the creative director of The Island Company, told WPTV that “he has had more walk-in customers over the weekend when roads shutdown and traffic on Palm Beach increased.” Last Monday he experienced record sales.

It seems, though, that the government has learned a lesson about making these trips last-minute. After the second visit, the Secret Service has given advanced notice, and the FAA sent out flight restrictions for March 3-5, which means Trump will probably visit again. 

But even with time to prepare, many small businesses will still lose money, and remain in danger of having to shut down. How can Trump say he is a champion for American business if his trips keep harming those small businesses that make America great?

 

Chastain is a contributing editor at Legal Insurrection, where she covers international news, with a focus on Ukraine and Russia. Follow her on Twitter @mchastain81


The views of contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.