Donald Trump Invited Mar-A-Lago Club Members Aboard Air Force One
On Feb. 18, 2017, at least 14 club members climbed aboard the world’s most exclusive plane to experience a perk only a CEO-turned-president could offer. Two tours were scheduled at the Atlantic Aviation FBO at Palm Beach International, just hours before Trump’s 2020 campaign rally held in Orlando.
The invitation was sent to undisclosed recipients by Air Force pilot William McDougall. Upon receiving the invitation, Buzzfeed News checked it against federal records, discovering that the times on the invitation matched those officially scheduled. The names of those in attendance were redacted, but partially unredacted email addresses revealed that invitees included car dealership owner Joe Arrigo, his sons, and their respective wives. The family has long been devoted to both of Trump’s Florida-based clubs, with one son having joined Trump’s golf club in 1999, the year it opened.
When questioned about the tours, former White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham defended the president’s move claiming that “It is common for friends/family of the President to receive tours of Air Force One.” Commenting on the guest list’s supposed number of long-time club members, Grisham added, that “they are also most likely longtime friends of the President. You have to keep in mind that Mar-a-Lago has been the President’s home for many years.”
The tours have since raised a few eyebrows in what some claim to be an example of Trump’s business interests overlapping with his presidential powers. Membership with his Mar-a-Lago Club reportedly doubled after his election and now stands at a whopping $200,000.