U.S. Air Force Responds to Trump Hotel Controversy

Elias Hubbard
September 11, 2019

President Trump on Monday stated he had "NOTHING TO DO" with the Air Power permitting crews to remain at his luxurious resort in Scotland throughout refueling stops, a observe now underneath evaluate by the army department.

Pence's stay came as the House oversight committee investigates allegations of U.S. military personnel being offered discount deals at Trump's Ayrshire golf resort and whether the alleged offer epresents a violation of the United States constitution.

The Air Force has said crew members paid standard per diem rates for stays at Trump's resort.

On the return flight from Kuwait, the C-17 crew stayed at the nearby Marriott property.

He said the president suggested Pence stay there.

On Monday morning, Trump wrote that he "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".

A KC-135 crew is usually between three to four people, including the pilot, the navigator and the refueling boom operator. According to U.S. Air Force officials, U.S. military aircraft are authorized to land and refuel at private airports with whom contracts have been arranged.

Air Force officials do not know how many of those overnight stays occurred at the Turnberry property.

The Air Force says the airfield's increased usage derived from a flight directive issued to mobility crews in June 2017, which it said was "designed to increase efficiencies". Gen. Edward Thomas about its policies and its internal review.

"Air Force leadership directed air mobility command to review all guidance pertaining to selection of airports and lodging accommodations during global travels", the Air Force said in a statement reported by the Evening Standard.

"Therefore, we are reviewing all associated guidance".

Since 2015, the command's aircraft has stopped at the airport 936 times, including 659 overnight stays. The Air Force does not say how many of those stays were at the Trump resort.

The House Oversight Committee has been investigating for months, whether increased military expenditures benefiting the Trump Turnberry Golf Course and Resort in Scotland, represent a conflict of interest for the president. "... The failure of Prestwick Airport, the closest commercial airport to the Turnberry resort, would place further financial pressure on Trump Turnberry, which already operates at a loss".

"It's got to be suitable, it's got be available, and it's got to be within the cost of the hotel rate", said Thomas.

The hotel, which is described as a luxury resort on its website, offers rooms for about $250 per night.

It's an arrangement that contrasts with the President's recent claims that he knows "nothing" about Air Force crews staying at his resort amid growing criticism over the matter.

The emoluments clause of the U.S. constitution bars the use of elected office for private gain, and ethics experts have said Trump's alleged abuse of the clause could in itself constitute impeachable behavior. In July, a federal court dismissed a lawsuit filed by Democratic attorneys general over the hotel, saying the case lacked legal standing.

Of the 259 Air Force trips, 220 of them included overnight stays.

The records were requested to be submitted by July 8. Pence said his schedule was also hastily rearranged after Trump asked the vice president to travel to Poland in his stead, and that there was no other hotel that could accommodate the vice president and his staff nearby. "Let's remember that President Carter had to sell his peanut farm to avoid the simple appearance of profiting from his office". They warned the spending of taxpayer dollars at Trump properties could be unconstitutional.

The other members of Maine's U.S. Congressional delegation - Rep. Jared Golden, D-2nd District, and Sens.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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