Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen spent their winter vacation in Aspen, Colorado, at the expense of small businesses.
Pence arrived at a booked residence near Owl Creek Road outside of Snowmass Village, a location that just happens to be a few miles away from Above It All Balloon Co., a small business that prides itself on offering hot air balloon tours.
Run by Pam and Bruce Wood, the business lost thousands of dollars after the vice president’s impromptu vacation grounded their company and prevented the hot air balloons from making their scheduled flights.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration order, all flights were temporary prohibited from an airspace that covered three nautical miles over the Pence’s vacation residence. Failure to comply with the order can result in criminal charges and civil penalties. If an aircraft poses an “imminent security threat,” the government may even use “deadly force.”
Unfortunately, the Woods’ business site fell within the no-fly radius.
“In the past sometimes we were able to measure it and see that we were outside the range and could still fly,” said Pam. “But this time they were about one mile from our launch site and we weren’t able to fly at all during their visit.”
What’s worse was Pence’s six-day visit coincided with the busiest week for the company.
“It’s been very disappointing,” co-owner Pam Wood told The Aspen Times. “This is our busiest week of the winter.”
She also said she understood the need for security but would have appreciated an advanced notice.
“I understand the security aspect,” Pam said, “but let the little wheels on the track make a living so the rest can roll.”
“I found out the morning of his arrival,” she told the New York Daily News. “We weren’t given any advance notice. I couldn’t try to plan and change our launch site because we need insurance and approvals and permits and to try to move that on such short notice was impossible.”
The owner had to go and break the news of the balloon flight cancellations to people who had booked a ride for their holiday visits. The company has a fleet of six balloons of various sizes that offer one flight every morning if the wind is stable.
Pam said she believes her loss is around $10,000 and possibly as much as $20,000.
It’s not hard to believe Pence had no consideration for small businesses, despite the fact he said in June 2017 that Trump is “the best friend that small business in America will ever have.”
Trump has done the same on occasion.
Last year, Trump almost ruined a summer camp activity for 250 children when he vacationed at his National Golf Club in Bedminster, NJ.
Tamarack Day Camp, which lies at the edge of the 3-mile radius of Trump’s golf course, was forced to cancel an event in which four skydivers, dressed as superheroes, were supposed to parachute in and “save” the children from a bunch of bikers.
It looks like the Trump administration is a fickle friend of small businesses in America.
Banner/Thumbnail credit: REUTERS, Mandel Ngan/Pool