President Donald Trump took to Twitter Monday morning to deny any knowledge of the Air Force using an airport he (doesn’t own) or staying overnight at Turnberry Resort, which (he does own).
I know nothing about an Air Force plane landing at an airport (which I do not own and have nothing to do with) near Turnberry Resort (which I do own) in Scotland, and filling up with fuel, with the crew staying overnight at Turnberry (they have good taste!). NOTHING TO DO WITH ME— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 9, 2019
On Friday evening, Politico reporter Natasha Bertrand teased via Twitter, a breaking news story.
I hate to do this to you all on a Friday night but …stand by for news— Natasha Bertrand (@NatashaBertrand) September 6, 2019
Shortly after her tweet, she along with Politico reporter Bryan Bender dropped the story that the House Oversight Committee was investigating whether U.S. Military expenditures, have be used to prop up the financially struggling Turnberry Golf Resort located in Scotland, owned by President Trump.
According to their article, the House Oversight Committee has been investigating the Military’s spending and it’s connection to the Trump owned resort, since early spring following a routine trip to Kuwait to deliver supplies.
The committee wants to know why, “the crew on the C-17 military transport plane made the unusual stay — both en route to the Middle East and on the way back — at the luxury waterside resort, according to several people familiar with the incident. But they have yet to receive any answers from the Pentagon.”
This stay at President Trump’s resort is part of a larger probe into military expenditures at “and around the Trump property in Scotland.”
According to a letter sent to the Pentagon back in June, the military has spent $11 million on fuel at Prestwick Airport. Prestwick Airport is the nearest airport to Turnberry Resort.
A Democratic aide on the oversight panel told Politico that the Defense Department has failed to provided the Oversight Committee with a single document that pertains to their inquiry. Adding that if the Pentagon does not comply the committee will be forced to consider other options.
The Defense Department has not produced a single document in this investigation. The committee will be forced to consider alternative steps if the Pentagon does not begin complying voluntarily in the coming days.Democratic Aide via Politico.
Shortly after the Politico story was published Air Force spokesman Brig. Gen. Ed Thomas offered a statement.
Every two and half minutes an Air Force transport aircraft takes off or lands somewhere around the globe. As our aircrews serve on these international airlift missions, they follow strict guidelines on contracting for hotel accommodations and all expenditures of taxpayer dollars. In this case, they made reservations through the Defense Travel System and used the closest available and least expensive accommodations to the airfield within the crews’ allowable hotel rates. While we are still reviewing the trip records, we have found nothing that falls outside the guidelines associated with selecting stopover airports on travel routes and hotel accommodations for crew rest.Thomas Statement via Politico.
In 2013 the Scottish government purchased Prestwick Airport, as the airport struggled with debt, in June of this year, they announced their intention to sell the airport.
Bertrand, announced via Twitter that following the publication of the story on Friday the U.S. Air Force has now ordered a probe into its use of Trump resorts for overnight crew accommodations.
This sweeping review follows the revelation that the stay by U.S. crew member at Turnberry in early spring was not the first time, back in September 2018, at least a dozen USAF crew members stayed at the struggling resort.
BREAKING: The US Air Force has ordered a sweeping review of its use of Trump resorts for overnight crew accommodations. It comes as POLITICO uncovers yet another overnight stay at Turnberry by at least a dozen USAF crew members in September 2018. https://t.co/TjHYI9bp9W— Natasha Bertrand (@NatashaBertrand) September 9, 2019
The frequency of the stops and overnight stays by the Air Force at Prestwick has increased steadily, from 95 stops and 40 overnights in 2015 to 259 stops and 220 overnights through August 2019. The Air Force couldn’t say how many of those 220 overnights were spent at Turnberry.— Natasha Bertrand (@NatashaBertrand) September 9, 2019
Brig. Gen. Ed Thomas offered another statement following the announced Air Force review via NPR.
While initial reviews indicate that aircrew transiting through Scotland adhered to all guidance and procedures, we understand that U.S. service members lodging at higher-end accommodations, even if within government rates, might be allowable but not advisable.Thomas, via NPR.
The news of the military spending tax dollars at Trump properties, followed the report that Vice President Mike Pence, during a recent European trip, stayed at a Trump property in Ireland.
Pence’s spokesperson Marc Short when asked about the stay in Doonbeg, versus staying overnight in Dublin, where he was scheduled to met with Ireland President Michael Higgins, said via the New York Times, “I don’t think it was a request, like a command,” adding, “I think that it was a suggestion.”
President Trump denied having anything to do with Vice President Pence’s stay in Ireland, also via tweet.
I had nothing to do with the decision of our great @VP Mike Pence to stay overnight at one of the Trump owned resorts in Doonbeg, Ireland. Mike’s family has lived in Doonbeg for many years, and he thought that during his very busy European visit, he would stop and see his family!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 9, 2019
For What It’s Worth.
In 2014 The Press and Journal reported that President Trump then-Businessman Trump, partnered with Prestwick Airport.
From the article.
The Trump Organisation has agreed to work with facility bosses and use its connections in the aviation and tourist industry to try and encourage more airlines to use the facility and turn it into a thriving transport hub.The Press and Journal 2014.
President Trump said at the time, “they have a tremendous facility with a unique rich history. Their expert team and state of the art operation is perfectly aligned with our global client and member base that travel frequently to Scotland, home to many of the finest golf resorts in the world including the legendary Trump Turnberry and Trump International Golf Links in Aberdeen”
The airport chief at the time, Iain Cochrane said that he was excited to be working with the Trump Org., and that their were delighted Prestwick was chosen to be the European base. Adding that the benefits would be mutually beneficial.
We are very excited to be working closely with The Trump Organisation going forward and are delighted that Prestwick has been chosen to be the European base for The Trump Sikorsky Helicopter. Forging a new partnership between the airport and The Trump Organisation will undoubtedly be mutually beneficial to both parties however it will also bring significant opportunities for the region as more inbound visitors travel to visit the legendary Trump Turnberry Resort.The Press and Journal.
The Trump Org., said at the time of the partnership that they were not purchasing the airport.
BBC News reported in August of 2015 that Cochrane was stepping down from his job, at the end of September that same year following twenty-years of working at the debt-ridden airport.