The U.S. Air Force says it’s reviewing all internal guidance on travel policy after an Air National Guard crew stopped at President Trump’s Scotland resort earlier this year en route to Kuwait. The Air Force’s leadership has directed Air Mobility Command to review all guidance about selecting airports and lodging accommodations for international trips.
The Air Force says that while the stop outside Glasgow, Scotland, appears to have adhered to guidelines, it realizes that it must still be “considerate” of perceptions about using taxpayer dollars. Mr. Trump claimed in a tweet later Monday morning that he had no knowledge of the visit.
“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,” the president wrote.
The stop at Trump Turnberry about 50 miles outside Glasgow, first reported by Politico, revives longstanding concerns from critics that the president’s businesses might be benefiting financially from taxpayer funds. News of the National Guard’s stay comes after Vice President Mike Pence stayed at the president’s Doonbeg, Ireland, property while conducting government business roughly 180 miles away in Dublin.
“The stopover of a U.S. AirForce C-17 in Glasgow, Scotland is not unusual,” Air Force Brigadier Gen. Edward W. Thomas Jr. said in a statement provided to CBS News. “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.”
The Air Force says the March stay at the Trump property by seven active duty and National Guard crew members from Alaska was less expensive at $161 a night than the nearby Marriott property the crew used on the way back from Kuwait, and under the per-diem rate of $166 per night.
The House Oversight Committee is investigating U.S. military activity at an airport that is close to Mr. Trump’s Turnberry property, according to a senior Democratic aide. The Democrat-led committee says Mr. Trump renovated the resort for hundreds of millions of dollars a couple years before the election, and now the airport and golf course have close ties. The committee is asking for documents revealing any communication between the Pentagon, airport and golf course.
— CBS News’ Gillian Morley and Rebecca Kaplan contributed to this report.
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