Trump says he didn't know Air Force crew stayed at his resort


Air Force and senior Pentagon officials acknowledged on Monday that the C-17 cargo jet crew had stopped at Trump Turnberry, a coastal property billed as a luxury golf resort about 35 miles south of Glasgow.

But, you say, "the Trump Organization" is bigger than Donald Trump.

In a tweet Monday morning, Trump denied knowledge of the Air Force lodging at his property.

Gen. Ed Thomas, the branch's chief spokesman, said in a statement that leadership had instructed the service's Air Mobility Command to "review all guidance pertaining to selection of airports and lodging accommodations during worldwide travels".

But Pence's staff changed its explanation after Politico reported that many veterans of the Secret Service protective detail said the logistical issues were irrelevant and offered that they were staying at the club because it was close to the vice president's ancestral home. According to a letterthe panel sent to the Pentagon in June, the military has spent $11 million on fuel at the Prestwick Airport - the closest airport to Trump Turnberry - since October 2017, fuel that would be cheaper if purchased at a us military base.

The government records, released through Scottish Freedom of Information law, show that the Trump organization, starting in 2014, entered a partnership with the airport to try to increase private and commercial air traffic to the region. But breaking with the practice of past presidents, he did not divest or otherwise distance himself from his businesses.

Vice President Mike Pence also drew fire from Democrats earlier this month when he met with Irish leaders in the capital Dublin but stayed at a hotel owned by President Donald Trump nearly 180 miles away at his boss's urging.

It wasn't just one plane.

Earlier this year, the House Oversight and Reform Committee launched an investigation into why Prestwick Airport, which had been debt-ridden, has seen a substantial increase in US military expenditures since Trump took office. From 95 stopovers in 2015, at the side of 40 in a single day stays, the amount jumped to 257 remaining one year, at the side of 208 in a single day stays.

Media in the United States went wild with the story over the weekend and the Air Force launched a review of how it chooses locations for global layovers following speculation that the USA military was being used to boost revenue at the Trump resort.

"While initial reviews indicate that aircrew transiting through Scotland adhered to all guidance and procedures, we understand that USA service members lodging at higher-end accommodations, even if within government rates, might be allowable but not advisable", said Brig.

"In early Spring of this year, an Air National Guard crew made a routine trip from the Kuwait to deliver supplies", Politico reported Saturday. "If the Department does not begin producing the requested documents this week, the Committee will be forced to consider alternative measures to compel compliance, including a subpoena".

"The synergy of Trump Turnberry and Prestwick Airport working together is crucial for both parties as we further develop golf and tourism in Ayrshire and Scotland", Ralph Porciani, the general manager of Trump Turnberry, was quoted as saying.

Citing Defence Logistics Agency (DLA) records, it said the U.S. military had made 629 fuel purchase orders at the airport, totalling $11m (£9m), since October 2017.

On previous trips to the Middle East, the C-17 had landed at USA air bases such as Ramstein Air Base in Germany or Naval Station Rota in Spain to refuel, according to one person familiar with the trips. "Since the 1930s it's been used by military for stopovers and refuelling".

The US military has reportedly spent $11 million on fuel at the Scottish airport since October 2017 - and revenue was up by $3 million at the financially struggling resort in 2018.

"This airport has a large parking area, is open 24/7/365, and has been contracted by DoD for fuel at standardized prices", Thomas explained.

The committee is probing Trump's potential conflicts of interest related to the U.S. Constitution's Emoluments Clauses.

It also noted that the Pence family stayed at the property during a visit to Ireland in 2013, before Mr Trump owned it.



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