The U.S. Air Force made waves with its decision to refuel at an airport near President Trump’s Turnberry golf resort in Scotland in March.
While it flew under the radar at the time, the decision came to light when House Democrats summoned the Air Force to explain the stopover as part of the Committee on Oversight and Reform’s investigation into conflicts of interest.
However, reports are confirming that the military has been using the Trump property as a stopping point for years, dating back to former President Barack Obama’s administration, according to Fox News.
In fact, even outlets critical of Trump have noted that the practice began before he announced his candidacy for president in 2015.
According to Politico, the Air Force has reviewed its own accounts and concluded that crews have stayed at Turnberry up to 40 times since 2015, though it is unclear how many of those stays have happened since Trump’s inauguration in 2017.
That figure of 40 may seem high at first glance, but in that same period, crews have been lodged in the area 659 times, meaning about 6 percent of the stays were at Turnberry.
Stops in the Glasgow, Scotland, area have reportedly increased since the Air Force signed a contract with Prestwick Airport, located approximately 20 miles from the resort.
That contract, however, was not signed under Trump either. The Washington Post reported that it was negotiated and signed while Obama was still in office.
The Air Force itself released a statement on the matter, Fox reported.
“We reviewed the vast majority of the 659 overnight stays of Air Force crews in the vicinity at Glasgow Prestwick Airport between 2015 and 2019. Approximately six percent of those crews stayed at the Trump Turnberry.
“As a practice, we generally send aircrews to the closest, most suitable accommodations within the government hotel rate. The review also indicated that about 75 percent of the crews stayed in the immediate vicinity of the airfield and 18 percent stayed in Glasgow.”
Trump himself has been quick to dismiss the controversy as a non-issue.
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
“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,” he tweeted Monday.
Trump’s assertion appears to carry some weight if, in fact, the Prestwick contract predates his presidency and even his candidacy.
Nevertheless, he is facing endless scrutiny from Democrats seeking to tie the president’s business interests to his public service. Such connections, they argue, would be a violation of the Emoluments Clause, which was originally intended to forbid the establishment of a nobility class and influence from foreign governments.
At first, combined with Democrats’ constitutional interpretation, these suggestions of conflicts of interest seemed to be spurring on the Democratic case for impeachment.
The facts, however, appear to only weaken their case.
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