In April, the House Oversight Committee began investigating why an Air National Guard crew flying back and from to and from Kuwait stopped at Trump’s Turnberry resort near Glasgow, Scotland. House Democrats were quick to accuse Trump of financially benefitting off the military. Why not? Russian collusion is dead, and they aren’t exactly having more luck on the obstruction charges. So, bring it on! Another scandal to throw at Donald Trump in an attempt to tarnish his presidency.
Looks like Democrats have another swing and a miss on this latest attempt of brewing up a Trump scandal because the arrangement between the United States Air Force and the airport near the resort was signed during the Obama administration.
The U.S. Air Force has lodged crews at President Donald Trump’s Scotland resort up to 40 times since 2015, a figure that is far higher than previously known.
The tally represents the preliminary results of an Air Force review launched after POLITICO reported last week that an Air National Guard crew stayed at Turnberry in March. Congressional Democrats have also been investigating military stays at the property, but have yet to receive any information from the Pentagon.
The figure does not indicate how many of the stays have occurred since Trump became president. But the Air Force has significantly ramped up its overnight stops in Scotland under Trump after signing a contract with the Prestwick Airport — situated 20-plus miles from Turnberry — in the waning months of the Obama administration. Since 2015, the service has lodged crews in the area 659 times, meaning up to 6 percent of those stays were at Turnberry.
Meanwhile, the Washington Post reported that the Air Force “reviewed overnight stays by crew members who stopped at Glasgow Prestwick Airport between 2015 and 2019 to refuel and found about 6 percent stayed at President Trump’s Scottish golf resort.”
“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,” said an Air Force spokesman said in a statement. “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.”
The stays result from two separate agreements that both predate Trump’s presidency. Before Trump ran for president, the airport agreed to send visiting crews to Trump’s course. And while President Barack Obama was still in office, the Air Force agreed to send refueling aircraft to the airport.
So, I guess that really makes this an Obama scandal? How much time and money was wasted investigating this?
Matt Margolis is the author of Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama’s Legacy and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis