Trump Faces Questions About His Continued Influence, Potential 2024 Presidential Run And More.
Photo: President Donald Trump gestures to supporters en route to his Mar-a-Lago Florida Resort on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, in West Palm Beach, Fla.
Photo Credit: Lynne Sladky / AP
Published January 21, 2021
The Center Square [By John Haughey]-
In the last hour of his presidency, Donald Trump pardoned Al Pirro, the ex-husband of Fox News’ Jeanine Pirro, and waved to thousands of supporters in Palm Beach from inside a black armored Escalade during a slow-motion south Florida motorcade to Mar-a-Lago.
After a sendoff Wednesday morning at Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington that included a 21-gun salute from four Army cannons, Trump arrived aboard Air Force One at Palm Beach International Airport at 10:54 a.m., more than an hour before Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States.
Trump; first lady Melania; youngest son, Barron; and Trump’s adult children – Donald Jr., Ivanka, Eric and Tiffany – were greeted by cheers from hundreds of supporters at the airport with “The Star-Spangled Banner” playing on loudspeakers.
Without taking questions from reporters, the Trumps left the airport in a motorcade that slowly crawled down Southern Boulevard through West Palm Beach and was captured by local TV news crews.
The outgoing president responded with double thumb-ups to red-white-and-blue-clad supporters who were waving Trump flags and displaying more of a party atmosphere than anger over his election defeat.
Crowds along Trump’s motorcade route to Mar-a-Lago grew as it neared the causeway to Palm Beach Island, with many holding “THANK YOU” and “TRUMP WON!” signs.
As the motorcade wound into Mar-a-Lago, just as Biden was entering the Capitol to be sworn in, Trump – in what may have been the last act of his presidency – announced he was pardoning Pirro, who had been convicted of conspiracy and tax evasion and sentenced to more than two years in prison in 2000.
Besides leaving behind an uncertain legacy in the wake of his four years as president and facing questions about his continued influence and potential 2024 presidential run, Trump also faces questions at home – literally.
Most notably: Can the former president legally live in his revenue-generating, members-only club under a 27-year-old agreement?
When he turned the private residence purchased in 1985 into a private club in 1993, Trump agreed with the town of Palm Beach to limit membership to 500 and to restrict stays to no more than seven consecutive days and three weeks annually, including for Trump and his family.
Some Palm Beach residents say they will take legal action to ensure the town enforces the agreement, which the Trump Organization says doesn’t exist.
Attorney Reginald Stambaugh called on the Palm Beach Town Council in December to protect property values and relieve anxiety over security, traffic and noise.
“Palm Beach has many lovely estates for sale,” Stambaugh wrote. “Surely (Trump) can find one which meets his needs.”
That, apparently, is an option Trump is considering.
Meanwhile, his club could be facing sanctions for failing to comply with COVID-19 protocols pending an investigation by Palm Beach County.
Rep. Omari Hardy, D-Lake Worth, has called on Palm Beach County to shut down Mar-a-Lago after its New Year’s Eve party, citing many widely circulated videos showing dozens of people dancing and drinking without masks as rapper Vanilla Ice performed.
“Mar-a-Lago is a club. A club is a business. Businesses must comply with Palm Beach County’s mask order,” Hardy wrote.