Trump is planning to sneak away to Florida instead of attending the Biden inauguration, FAA data reveals

Thomas Pallini
·4 min read
trump air force one
President Donald Trump boarding Air Force One. Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP
  • President Donald Trump appears to be heading south to Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, instead of attending Joe Biden's inauguration.

  • The Federal Aviation Administration issued temporary flight restrictions over the private club for Wednesday, indicating the president's arrival.

  • One of Trump's final tweets confirmed suspicions that he wasn't planning on attending Biden's inauguration.

  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

President Donald Trump appears to be traveling to a warmer climate instead of attending the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.

The Federal Aviation Administration has issued flight restrictions for the skies above Palm Beach, Florida, for Wednesday, indicating the president will head south on his last day in office and skip the traditional Capitol send-off.

Palm Beach is home to Trump's private club Mar-a-Lago. His frequent trips there during his presidency caused it to become known as the winter White House. Trump as president has spent 133 days at the club, according to an NBC News tracker, and has held summits there with world leaders including Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (who stepped down last year).

Trump changed his official address to Palm Beach in October 2019, The New York Times reported, and is said to be planning on moving there permanently after his time in office.

Read more: GOP kicks Trump to curb after deadly Capitol insurrection, leaving the president to fend for himself during his historic 2nd impeachment

The move is in line with one of the president's final tweets before his ban from Twitter, in which he said in no uncertain terms that he would not be attending Biden's inauguration.

"To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th," Trump said in a now-hidden tweet. (Twitter suspended the president's personal account on January 8 after the Capitol riot.)

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for confirmation of the president's travel plans.

Protecting the president while traveling

The FAA issues what it calls temporary flight restrictions whenever the president or vice president leaves Washington. Pilots are typically not allowed to fly within a few miles of the president's location without authorization when the restrictions are in place.

The new restrictions start at 10:45 a.m. on Wednesday, when pilots won't be able to fly within 10 nautical miles or 18,000 feet of Palm Beach International Airport. The restrictions will expire at noon, when the president's term ends. Mar-a-Lago sits mere feet from the approach path to the airport's easterly runways.

A separate flight restriction was issued for the skies directly above Mar-a-Lago, but they're less stringent. From 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday until 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, pilots won't be able to fly within 3 nautical miles or 3,000 feet of the club.

Local flight schools near Palm Beach have been languishing under the presidential airspace restrictions, as general-aviation aircraft on training flights are typically prohibited from operating within the restricted airspace or departing from airports below. Flight schools lose an estimated $30,000 on weekends when Trump visits and $50,000 on long weekends, according to the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.

Trump's visits to Palm Beach became so frequent that the federal government began reimbursing flight schools for lost revenue. Aid in the amount of $3.5 million was included in a 2019 spending bill for general-aviation operators affected by the president's travels.

Trump has rarely left the White House this month, barring a few trips to Georgia on the campaign trail for Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue and a final visit to Texas. A rare weekend trip to Camp David was planned for just two days after the US Capitol riot, a White House official confirmed to Insider, but the trip was later scrubbed.

The president may not be going silently. A departure ceremony for Trump is said to be in the works at Joint Base Andrews, according to USA Today, with as much pomp and circumstance as the series finale of a television show.

A color guard and 21-gun salute are on the agenda, USA Today reported.

Vice President Mike Pence, who had sparred with Trump in the days surrounding the Electoral College certification, is said to be attending the inauguration.

Read the original article on Business Insider