The Story Behind the Anti-Trump Banners Flying Over Him in Florida: 'People Have Just Had Enough'
One of the companies being hired, Aerial Messages, is nonpartisan and has also flown pro-Trump banners as recently as this weekend
A West Coast woman has taken her low opinion of Donald Trump skyward — hiring a Florida-based air message company to fly a pair of very public banners directed at the former president as the Senate was gathered to deliberate in his impeachment trial.
One banner, which flew over Trump's Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach on Friday, urged in all caps to "CONVICT TRUMP AND LOCK HIM UP."
According to CNN's Jim Acosta, that message could be seen overhead in Palm Beach as Trump's defense team in Washington, D.C., began making its arguments against his conviction.
The other banner, which could be seen flying above Daytona's International Speedway also on Friday, read, "GOP Grow a Spine and Expel Trump!"
The woman who paid for both messages spoke to HuffPost about her decision, saying the banners were "absolutely worth it" despite what she called the "expected yet infuriating" result of Trump's impeachment trial, which ended in his acquittal.
"S," as the woman asked to be identified, told the outlet she lives on the West Coast but felt Florida would be the best place to fly the banners, considering the expense and Trump's ties to the state (he's been living at Mar-a-Lago since he left office in January).
PEOPLE confirms the banners were flown by the Daytona-based Aerial Messages, which advertises its political messaging marketing on its website: "Take Your Political Message To The Sky! Ask About Our Options For Political Messaging."
CEO Remy Colin says Aerial Messages is nonpartisan and has flown pro-Trump banners as recently as this weekend.
"We do fly it all," Colin tells PEOPLE. "After we flew all those banners, we flew a pro-Trump banner [near Mar-a-Lago] that we got confirmation that he actually saw."
That one, Colin says, read "Trump Best President Ever, Save America" — along with a heart.
Colin says that the standard cost to hire his company to fly a banner over Mar-a-Lago is $3,200 for one hour onsite. Banners are usually $825 per hour, but the company's planes are located in Orlando so the higher price covers the cost of fuel and flight down to South Florida and back.
Colin adds that he's "thinking about keeping an aircraft" down in South Florida if the banners become more popular.
"It's been 90 percent positive," Colin says when asked about the response from the anti-Trump banners. "People have just had enough." (The demand has been good for his business, he says bluntly: "All the crazies on both the left and right side are giving us money.")
Colin says that the woman who purchased the banner that flew over Mar-a-Lago also contributed, along with a group of around seven people, to the banner that flew in Daytona.
Though "S" told HuffPost she had never been politically active, Trump's behavior reminded her of the actions of a dictator.
"2020 really got me, and the pandemic took the cake," she told HuffPost. "I couldn't believe what I was seeing. When Trump started talking about a third term and then started a chant at a rally of '12 more years,′ I thought: 'That's it. That's a dictator.' "
She continued: "My parents immigrated from Cuba in the 1960s. They know what a dictator looks like. Trump and his supporters are authoritarian, completely offensive; they stand for what's completely contradictory to this country's ideals."
Hers weren't the only anti-Trump banners to recently fly over Florida.
"Trump You Pathetic Loser Go Back to Moscow" and "Trump Worst President Ever" were seen over the former president's members-only Mar-a-Lago in January, just after he returned to Florida after skipping President Joe Biden's inauguration.
According to the The Times in London, the banners were paid for by an anonymous physician who told the paper, "I want to show people that they can tell Donald Trump what they think of him — and that their emperor has no clothes."
With a vote of 57-43, the Senate acquitted Trump on Saturday in his unprecedented second impeachment trial in the wake of the U.S. Capitol attack on Jan. 6.
The House of Representatives had charged Trump on Jan. 13 with inciting an insurrection in the Capitol riots that saw a mob of his supporters storm the building during a joint session of Congress, overwhelming law enforcement and sending lawmakers into hiding.
Five people died.
Just hours earlier, Trump spoke at a rally near the White House in which he encouraged attendees to march on Congress, which they did, and to "fight like hell" for the country, which he warned was being stolen away.
At his trial, his attorneys said his speech was not incitement and it was unconstitutional to try him once he left office.
The impeachment managers argued that to vote to acquit him would be to risk another insurrection in the future.