On Saturday, the Air Force defended a March stopover in Scotland that resulted in crew members staying at Donald Trump’s Turnberry resort calling the stay “the closest available and least expensive accommodations.”
The stay at Trump’s Turnberry resort for crew members, who were en route to Kuwait to drop off supplies, attracted the attention of the Democratic-led House Oversight Committee. The committee sent out a letter requesting documents to acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan in June.
“The stopover of a U.S. Air Force C-17 in Glasgow, Scotland is not unusual. Every two and half minutes an Air Force transport aircraft takes off or lands somewhere around the globe,” Brig. Gen. Ed Thomas said in a statement. “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,” Thomas added.
Thomas went on to state that the crew stayed at a Marriott hotel on the way back, and that they got a cheaper rate of $136 at Trump Turnberry compared to $161 at the Marriott property. The per diem rate is capped at $166.
“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 added.
Thomas said the crew, consisting of seven active-duty and Guard crewmembers from Alaska, stayed at Turnberry when en route to Kuwait, “but it doesn’t appear the Trump property was used on the return leg.”
The House Oversight letter said the “Defense Department has purchased roughly $11 million in fuel from Prestwick Airport, the closest airport to Trump Turnberry, since October 2017. The letter paints purchases from the struggling airport as a tactic to keep Trump’s resort afloat by ensuring there is access to air travel nearby. The letter also cited a report that Trump Turnberry has yet to turn a profit.”
House Democrats are now also openly investigating Vice President Mike Pence’s decision to stay at a Trump’s golf resort in Doonbeg, Ireland, last week. Democrats claim that the move could have possibly violated the Constitution’s emoluments clause.