September 11, 2019
The Trump Organization and President Donald Trump, himself, were directly involved in developing a partnership between his Turnberry golf resort on the southwest coast of Scotland and Glasgow Prestwick Airport, The New York Times first reported this week.
The partnership, which began a year before Trump’s presidential campaign kicked off, worked to add TrumpTurnberry to a list of hotels used by the airport’s aircrew on stopovers— despite the fact that it is significantly farther away from the airport than other hotels used in a similar manner and has higher advertised prices, according to the Times.
What’s more, the president has arranged with the U.S. Air Force to refuel American aircraft—paying consumer prices for the fuel—at the Glasgow Prestwick Airport, a military maneuver that has not been approved by the Scottish government.
And the Air Force pilots and crew for those planes also are staying at the Trump Turnberry–on the dime of U.S. voters.
“We provide a full handling service for customers and routinely arrange overnight accommodation for visiting aircrew when requested,” the Prestwick airport said in a statement on Monday.
“We use over a dozen local hotels, including TrumpTurnberry, which accounts for a small percentage of the total hotel bookings we make,” it added.
Trump has repeatedly denied involvement in the move, tweeting Monday, “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”
However, Air Force plane stops at Prestwick have increased from 180 in 2017 to 257 in 2018—and 259 so far, including 220 overnight stays, in 2019. That means lots of money is being made–both by the Trump resort and the airport.
Air Force officials could not tell the Times how many times crews had been sent to TrumpTurnberry specifically but said they are combing through vouchers to determine the exact count.
According to Natasha Bertrand, a reporter for Politico and an MSNBC contributor, the House Oversight committee has begun an investigation into whether U.S. military expenditures have been propping up TrumpTurnberry.
What’s more, she tweeted, “One crew member was so struck by the choice of hotel—markedly different than the Marriotts and Hiltons the 176th maintenance squadron is used to—that he texted someone close to him and said the crew’s per diem allowance wasn’t enough to cover food and drinks at the ritzy resort.”
The Hill has reached out to the White House for comment.
Research contact: @TrumpTurnberry