The Air Force has been forced to defend itself from accusations by congressional Democrats and their partisan media allies that a decision last March by an Air Force squadron to stay the night at a Trump resort during a stopover in Scotland reeks of corruption.
“The stopover of a U.S. Air Force C-17 in Glasgow, Scotland is not unusual,” Air Force spokesperson Brig. Gen. Ed Thomas said in a statement on Saturday to the Associated Press. “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.”
For the stopover in March, he continued, the squadron chose the Trump Turnberry resort to save money.
“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 explained.
His remarks were prompted after Democrats and the media began complaining about this and other stays:
BREAKING: House Oversight is investigating whether US military expenditures have been propping up Trump Turnberry. A peculiar refueling stop in Glasgow by a US Air Force crew, who stayed overnight at the resort—there & back—tipped them off. Our exclusive: https://t.co/oRkatAAnFs
— Natasha Bertrand (@NatashaBertrand) September 7, 2019
“In early Spring of this year, an Air National Guard crew made a routine trip from the U.S. to Kuwait to deliver supplies,” Politico, which broke the story on Friday, reported. “What wasn’t routine was where the crew stopped along the way: President Donald Trump’s Turnberry resort, about 50 miles outside Glasgow, Scotland.”
The report continued by noting that, led by anti-Trump zealot Rep. Jerry Nadler, the House Oversight Committee has been investigating the stopover since April.
“The inquiry is part of a broader, previously unreported probe into U.S. military expenditures at and around the Trump property in Scotland,” the report reads. “According to a letter the 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 U.S. military base. The letter also cites a Guardian report that the airport provided cut-rate rooms and free rounds of golf at Turnberry for U.S. military members.”
Congressional Democrats believe that the Trump administration is purposefully putting money into the airport’s hands to boost its profile and thus increase travel to the general region. Why would the president do that? To allegedly boost his resort and stop alleged ongoing “financial losses,” according to Democrats.
“Given the President’s continued financial stake in his Scotland golf courses, these reports raise questions about the President’s potential receipt of U.S. or foreign government emoluments in violation of the U.S. Constitution and raise other serious conflict of interest concerns,” their letter on the matter reads. “In order to fulfill its responsibilities under the Constitution, the Committee is seeking information related to expenditures at both Prestwick Airport and the Presidents’ nearby Scotland golf resorts.”
In a statement given to The Hill on Friday, an unnamed senior Democrat aide claimed that the administration has thus far not complied with the committee’s requests.
“The Defense Department has not produced a single document in this investigation,” the aide said. “The committee will be forced to consider alternative steps if the Pentagon does not begin complying voluntarily in the coming days.”
Congressional Democrats have displayed similar fervor in their newfound investigation against Vice President Mike Pence, who briefly stayed at a Trump hotel during his recent trip to Ireland.
Flanked by his wife, mother and sister, Pence briefly stayed at the Trump International Golf Links & Hotel in Doonbeg because Doonbeg also happens to be his family’s hometown.
“I mean, it’s deeply humbling for me to be able to come back to Ireland and have the opportunity to go to the very hometown of my mother’s grandmother,” he explained to reporters while still in Ireland last week.
“I mean, we’ll have dinner tonight at a little pub that I worked at when I was 22 years old, when I came over here shortly after my grandfather passed away,” he continued. “And right across the street is the house where my great-grandmother grew up. She often spoke of the castle that was out the window of her bedroom.”
Regarding his stay specifically at the president’s hotel, Pence noted that it made sense logically.
“I understand political attacks by Democrats, but if you have a chance to get to Doonbeg, you’ll find it’s a fairly small place, and the opportunity to stay at Trump National in Doonbeg, to accommodate the unique footprint that comes with our security detail and other personnel, made it logical,” he said.
While his explanation does appear to make logical sense — as does the Air Force’s argument that the C-17 squadron had stayed at Trump’s resort in Scotland to save money — the logic is seemingly being completely ignored by both Democrats and their partisan media allies.
“Pence Is Staying in Doonbeg so Trump Can Turn a Profit on His Ireland Trip,” one stunningly hyperbolic and conspiratorial headline from Vanity Fair magazine reads.
That is straight-up fake news, i.e., the exact sort of fake news that the media routinely disseminate, all as they scratch their heads in confusion at why so many Americans distrust them.
As for Democrats, they continue to complain and tout conspiracy theories:
.@VP Pence’s taxpayer-funded stay at @realDonaldTrump’s Ireland golf resort is just another example of this admin’s open corruption & how it enriches the President. I want the @StateDept to explain who planned this trip & its cost to the American people. https://t.co/h4a0NwVivV
— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) September 6, 2019
VP Pence’s focus should be on strengthening the U.S.-Ireland alliance, not illegally lining President Trump’s pockets with taxpayers dollars. That’s why the framers of the Constitution wrote the #Emoluments clauses and precisely what they were trying to prevent. https://t.co/2wZ9UfuKru
— House Foreign Affairs Committee (@HouseForeign) September 3, 2019
Dear Secretary of Defense @EsperDoD: This smells like corruption.
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) September 7, 2019
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