It’s not just Mike Pence who’s been using your tax dollars to stay in President Trump’s international properties.
Air Force crews traveling from Qatar and Kuwait have repeatedly lodged at Trump’s Turnberry resort in Scotland over the last year, Politico reported Sunday, after stopping at the nearby Prestwick Airport to refuel their planes.
And now, the branch has ordered a global review of how it chooses accommodations for overnight travel.
In a statement to Politico, a spokesperson for the Air Force denied any impropriety, saying that the Air Force’s use of that airport to refuel predates Trump’s time in office. But the spokesperson also acknowledged that the revelations make the Pentagon look bad.
“We must still be considerate of perceptions of not being good stewards of taxpayer funds that might be created through the appearance of aircrew staying at such locations,” the spokesperson said.
Stopovers at that airport have tripled since 2015, Politico reported, with the number of overnight stays increasing five times. The Air Force spokesperson declined to confirm how many of those stays were at Trump’s resort.
“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,” the spokesperson said.
In April, the House Government Oversight and Reform Committee launched a probe into whether the Pentagon is helping line Trump’s pockets by repeatedly sending crew to his Scottish golf resort, Politico also reported on Friday.
That’s because the resort has cut its rates for members of the U.S. military and provided them with free rounds of golf. (Room rates for a single adult staying at the property on a September weekend, without any discount, range from about $430 to $740 per night.)
The military spent $11 million on fuel at the Prestwick Airport since October of 2017 — fuel that would have been cheaper, the committee said, if purchased in the U.S.
And it looks like those incentives are helping Trump’s bottom line. In 2017, the Turnberry property lost $4.5 million, but revenue went up by $3 million the next year, Politico also reported.
The news comes just one week after the vice president came under fire for staying at a Trump property in Doonbeg, Ireland, while he was on official business in the country. The stay came at the suggestion of the president, Pence’s chief of staff told reporters, a statement Trump later denied.
Trump himself is no stranger to accusations that he continues to profit from the presidency by hosting federal employees — and foreign leaders — at his resorts.
A group of attorneys general sued Trump in 2017 for allegedly violating the Emoluments Clauses of the Constitution, which prohibits the president from accepting financial gifts from foreign governments. The suit alleges that, because Trump regularly hosts foreign officials at his hotel in Washington, D.C., he has financially benefited from the presidency.
Cover: View of a Boeing C-17 Globemaster III from the 452nd Air Mobility Wing at March Air Reserve Base doing a flyover at The Los Angeles Dodgers Game - Opening Day at Dodger Stadium on March 28, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jerritt Clark/Getty Images)