| September 09, 2019 07:05 PM
Politico reported Friday that the U.S. Air Force “may well well per chance fair gain helped line the president’s pockets” by making an “ordinary” refueling stop at an airport in Scotland no longer some distance from the Trump Group’s money-losing Turnberry lodge and golf route.
House Democrats are investigating whether the Air Force’s stops at Prestwick Airport gain “helped retain Trump’s Turnberry resort afloat,” Politico‘s Natasha Bertrand and Bryan Bender reported. “Accusations that Trump’s properties are unfairly profiting off of his administration gain dogged the president since entering map of business,” the article reads. “However the ability involvement of the military takes the mumble to a somewhat just a few stage.”
The news became straight away picked up by somewhat just a few media retail outlets. MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow opened her program Friday with a monologue on the chronicle, adopted by an interview with Bertrand. “Now miraculously, now that Donald Trump is president, American military cargo planes gain started refueling at that airport,” Maddow said, noting the military “spent $17 million on gas [there] since October 2017,” even supposing “it could well well be more affordable to the military if that gas had been bought at a U.S. military noxious.”
“They’re stopping at the airport that Trump needs to prop as a lot as remove his Scottish golf resort going,” Maddow declared.
Opposition political figures picked up the chronicle, too. “The president is spoiled and must be impeached,” Democratic Obtain. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted fixed with Bertrand.
The finest mumble with the Politico chronicle became that it became no longer the whole chronicle. In actuality, it neglected so mighty well-known knowledge that it infrequently licensed as a chronicle the least bit.
The fragment fervent about a single Air Force mission, a C-17 military transport flight this year from the U.S. to Kuwait and wait on. Bertrand and Bender reported that the airplane stopped at Prestwick to refuel, and moreover that the crew spent the night time at Turnberry. Per the article, crew people said that they had never stopped at Prestwick sooner than in dozens of journeys wait on and forth between the U.S. and Heart East.
The article made several references to a June 21, 2019, document inquire despatched by House Oversight Committee Democrats to the secretary of protection. The Pentagon has no longer yet answered to the House, Politico said.
However committee Democrats left a different of issues out of their letter. Some are readily available in public paperwork on the catch, whereas some got here from the Air Force fixed with the chronicle.
The very very first thing to hiss is that a public database reveals the Air Force signed a contract for refuelings at Prestwick in 2016, sooner than the Trump administration entered map of business. As successfully as, Air Force planes made many stops at Prestwick sooner than Trump. Per knowledge supplied by Air Force officers, planes stopped at Prestwick ninety five instances in 2015, a hundred forty 5 instances in 2016, a hundred and eighty instances in 2017, 257 instances in 2018, and 259 instances via August 2019.
One of the most flights had been documented on YouTube. There are hobbyists who luxuriate in to originate and post videos of planes landing and taking off at varied airports all over the enviornment. A ogle for “USAF” and “Prestwick” yields a total bunch videos of Air Force planes at Prestwick, somewhat loads of them dating from sooner than the delivery of the Trump administration. (Right here is one.)
So the stop at Prestwick may well well per chance fair need been a first-ever for the crew described in Politico, nonetheless no longer for the Air Force total. In an announcement released after the Politico characterize, the Air Force said there are a different of causes for using Prestwick:
Air Force mobility airplane, essentially C-17s, gain more and more leveraged Prestwick as a stopover dilemma between 2015-2019 as a end result of several key components. Prestwick’s 24-hour-a-day operations originate it a more viable choice for airplane touring to and from the U.S. Central Expose House of Responsibility compared to somewhat just a few military stopover areas that gain imposed more and more restrictive operating hours. Moreover, Air Mobility Expose [AMC] issued a flight directive to mobility crews in June 2017 designed to amplify efficiencies by standardizing routing areas, with Prestwick being amongst the quit 5 areas rapid for causes similar to more right climate than nearby Shannon Airport, and much less airplane parking congestion than areas on the European continent that in most cases enhance AMC’s excessive precedence airlift missions. By thinking about components luxuriate in these to set costs and amplify operational efficiencies, Air Operations Heart contingency planners gain more and more turned to Prestwick to originate route plans for lower precedence contingency needs similar to practicing, deploy/redeploy and Guard airlift missions.
In summary, the Air Force said that, besides its geographic dilemma, Prestwick is a sufficient different because it “has a tall parking assign, is delivery 24/7/365, and has been shriveled by DoD for gas at standardized costs.”
As for lodging, the Air Force considerable that there had been 40 overnight says in 2015, seventy five stays in 2016, 116 in 2017, 208 in 2018, and 220 via August 2019. It did no longer specify how many had been at Turnberry. (Indeed, on the one time out mentioned by Politico, the crew stayed at a Marriott on the manner home from Kuwait.) Alternatively, there’s some public knowledge about authorities employee stays at Turnberry.
In July 2018, President Trump visited Turnberry. After the time out, three Democratic lawmakers — Obtain. Elijah Cummings and Sens. Tom Carper and Elizabeth Warren — requested the Say Division to provide knowledge on how mighty that tag. It took Say on the subject of a year, nonetheless on July 22, 2019, Say Division Inspector Total Steve Linick answered.
The letter from Linick to Cummings, Carper, and Warren mentioned simplest Say Division costs, which had been indubitably no longer all of what became spent on the president’s focus on over with. However it did consist of knowledge about Turnberry.
In the end of the focus on over with, Linick said, Say rented three rooms at Turnberry for two nights. The total tag became $728. Citing invoices from the lodge, Linick said the room rate for the night time became ninety five.06 pounds, or $121.40, per night time. Linick said the Say Division checked out somewhat just a few hotels, in conjunction with the Blythswood Square Resort in Glasgow, which charged 215 pounds per night time; the Hilton Glasgow, which charged 249 pounds; the Hilton Glasgow Grosvenor at 229 pounds; the Sizable Central Resort in Glasgow at 185 pounds; and the Raddison Blu in Glasgow at 179 pounds per night time. Various Say Division workers detailed to the president’s time out stayed at some of these hotels.
It seems that, at least on the president’s time out, Turnberry became a sufficient deal. Alternatively, the publicity surrounding the new chronicle seems to gain made the Air Force worried.
In an announcement issued fixed with Politico, Air Force Brig. Gen. Edward Thomas considerable the overnight refueling stop mentioned within the fragment “adhered to all guidance and procedures.” Alternatively, Thomas said, “we realize that U.S. Service people lodging at increased-cease lodging, even though interior authorities rates, will most doubtless be allowable nonetheless no longer commended.” Thomas suggested the mumble will most doubtless be more optics than misuse of taxpayer money: “We must mute be considerate of perceptions of no longer being fair appropriate stewards of taxpayer funds that will most doubtless be created via the seems of aircrew staying at such areas,” he wrote.
There is indubitably more to search out out in regards to the military’s exhaust of Prestwick and Turnberry. However the underside line: Did an “ordinary” refueling stop “line the president’s pockets”? Given what’s recognized thus some distance, that is a no longer easy accusation to spice up.