The Air Force, which said in a statement it was reviewing the trip records, said the stop was “not unusual.” But it’s another example of Trump’s company earning money from taxpayer dollars, which has led some government watchdogs to argue the arrangement breaches ethical norms and potentially violates a clause of the US Constitution.
“As our air crews serve on these international airlift missions, they follow strict guidelines on contracting for hotel accommodations and all expenditures of taxpayer dollars,” Air Force Brig. Gen. Ed Thomas said in a statement. “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 said the crew on the March 13 consisted of seven active duty and National Guard crew members, adding that although they stayed at Turnberry en route to Kuwait, “it doesn’t appear” they did so on the trip back to the US.
The Air Force said the Turnberry resort was less expensive than a nearby Marriott and that both were under the per diem rate of $166. The Air Force also said it schedules stopovers based on such factors as leg distance and contract fuel availability.
Crews use a commercial airport — Prestwick in Glasgow — when they stop for refueling in Scotland.
The Pentagon and White House have not responded to CNN’s request for comment regarding the stopovers in Scotland and the stays at Turnberry. The Trump Organization also did not respond to a request for comment regarding the stays at Turnberry.
But the Defense Department has refused to comply with investigators’ requests to date, a senior Democratic committee aide told CNN on Friday.