President Donald Trump has rebuffed allegations of impropriety after it emerged both the vice president and members of the US Air Force stayed at Trump resorts on separate occasions.
The Air Force is ordering a review after it was revealed crew members had stayed at Mr Trump’s hotel and golf resort at Turnberry in Scotland during an international mission.
Meanwhile, the president denied having any role in Vice President Mike Pence staying at a Trump resort in Ireland, a move which critics said used taxpayer money to enrich Mr Trump.
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
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 9, 2019
Launching a tirade on Twitter, the president said: “I 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.”
He added: “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.”
Mr Trump said Mike Pence’s decision to stay at the Irish resort was because he had family in the area.
Air Force chiefs said stopovers by military personnel at the Trump Turnberry resort in Ayrshire, Scotland, “might be allowable but not advisable”.
Officials will now assess the Air Force guidance on overnight accommodation for flight crews.
Military personnel visited the hotel and golf resort at Turnberry
The decision comes as the US president is being investigated over a potential conflict of interest related to US military visits to the luxury resort and increased spending at nearby Glasgow Prestwick Airport.
It emerged over the weekend that a crew from a C-17 stayed at Trump Turnberry after stopping at Prestwick on the way to Kuwait.
The US Air Force said in a statement released by Politico: “While initial reviews indicate that aircrew transiting through Scotland adhered to all guidance and procedures, we understand that US Service members lodging at higher-end accommodations, even if within government rates, might be allowable but not advisable.
“Even when USAF aircrews follow all directives and guidance, 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 (review will include active duty, Guard Reserve).”
The number of stopovers at Prestwick has increased dramatically since Mr Trump came into office.
In 2015 there were 95 stopovers and 40 overnights, but this has since increased to 257 stopovers and 208 overnight stays in 2018.
There have been 259 stopovers and 220 overnight stays in the first eight months of 2019.
The president’s luxury golf course is near Glasgow Prestwick Airport
The Air Force says it has increasingly used Prestwick as a stopover location due to a multitude of factors including its 24-hour operations, a large parking area and its location on the route of flights to and from Europe and the Middle East.
The US Congress launched a probe into spending by the US Defence Department at the airport and allegations of cut-price deals at the hotel resort.
Reports claimed Trump Turnberry offered “cut-price rooms for select passengers and crew” and free rounds of golf for US military staff and civilian air crews.
US military spending at Prestwick has “increased substantially” since Mr Trump became president and the airport is “integral” to Turnberry’s financial success, according to the House Oversight and Reform Committee.
It is demanding to see spending records related to the airport, including “communications related to Defence Department flights routed through Prestwick”.
Credit: Emily Mee