MILWAUKEE — The Trump campaign initially planned to hold Saturday's rally at Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport - but the airport denied the request.
An airport spokesperson tells TMJ4 News that the airport's director notified a tenant that all special events that are "non-aeronautical in nature" are in violation of its lease with the airport. Such an event would also be in violation of the City of Milwaukee's ban on large public gatherings.
"The concern for the Airport is the impact to airline flight operations, as the event originally planned for Saturday morning would require a ground stop, resulting in canceled airline flights for an extended period of time. We cannot allow any tenant to impact airport passengers in this way," according to Harold Mester, the Director of Public Affairs and Marketing at Mitchell and Timmerman airports.
The Trump campaign announced Thursday that the president will be attending a campaign event at Stein Aircraft Services in Waukesha Saturday. The campaign made no mention that its first attempt at a weekend rally did not get the green light.
TMJ4 News spoke with Chip Zens, CEO of Freight Runners Express at General Mitchel International Airport. He was planning to host President Trump's Saturday rally in a hangar.
“Shortly after we sign the contract, we have all the campaign people show up here in droves to look at our site and to start coordinating this event," Zens said.
That ended when he received a letter from airport leadership saying his space on airport property couldn't be used for the rally.
Zens told TMJ4 news of this visit hurts as he remains a small business owner with lots of overhead costs, people to pay, and little to no-flights outgoing during the pandemic.
“The coronavirus pandemic that has gone on has been devastating to small businesses. Our operation and cost for operation never go down one iota during these times," Zens said. “It seems highly partisan. Considering that our ramp was already vetted and was supposed to be used for the Democratic Convention.”
A representative with County Executive David Crowley's office said the decision wasn't politically motivated, citing candidate and presidential visits using General Mitchell in the past, including President Trump.
President Trump is set to speak at Waukesha event, at 2651 Aviation Dr., starting at 7 p.m. Saturday.