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Now that Congress has returned from a long break in August, Democrats want to make sure that these Air Force crews will never stay on Trump Turnberry. On Monday, lawmakers began tapping the Senate to pass a bill that would prevent the Pentagon from spending money on nearly five dozen Trump properties around the world. The House adopted the clause in July as part of a broader annual defense policy bill, but it has not yet been enacted.
"As worrying details emerge of US Air Force crews staying at the president's luxury golf resort in Scotland, it has become even more important for Congress to include that language in the final version of the National Defense Authorization Act," a reporter said Don Beyer (D-Va.), One of the sponsors of the proposal.
The current desire to escape the practice will join a growing list of concerns about conflicts of interest that Democrats want to highlight in the coming months as House leaders decide whether to launch official impeachment proceedings against the president. The overnight stops at Turnberry have already sparked a broader investigation by the House Oversight Committee on and around Trump properties. Over the weekend, the Air Force also released a world-wide overview of how they choose to spend the night on release night.
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"The president has already shown a willingness to violate the Constitution's remuneration clause and Congress has a duty to use every tool we can to stop it," Beyer said, citing a provision that prohibits the president from receiving any compensation. from the federal government, other than salary.
The Air Force stated that the stops were in the Pentagon's direction and noted that Turnberry reservations were at reasonable prices for military travel. The office also acknowledged that the appearance of a stay at the president's property could create a negative perception.
Trump, for his part, announced that he did not know about the tweet on Monday.
"I don't know anything about an airplane landing at an airport (which I don't own and have nothing to do) near Turnberry Resort (which I own) in Scotland and refueling with crew overnight in Turnberry (they have good taste!). DON'T DO ANYTHING WITH ME, "he writes.
Turnberry Air Force has been left since at least September 2018.
This month, a unit of Maine Air National Guard landed at Prestwick Airport – located about 20 miles from Turnberry – on its way back to the US from Al Udeid Air Force Base in Qatar. . The crew – members of the 101st Air Wing Wing – and their passengers then spent the night at Trump's hotel, according to one person present and a voucher detailing the route of the POLITICO crew.
A total of at least a dozen Air Force members stayed in Turnbury that night, this man recalled.
What was also "weird," the man said, was that Prestwick Airport had gone above and beyond for service members – the airport booked rooms in Turnbury, coordinated free trips to and from the resort, and even packed lunches of the crew. the day they left.
An airport spokesman does not dispute this memory.
"Like all airports, we provide full customer service and routinely arrange overnight on-demand crew visits," said a POLITICO spokesman. "We use over a dozen local hotels, including Trump Turnberry, which is a small percentage of the total hotel bookings we make."
The spokesman further noted that the airport does not pay for crew accommodation and does not take commission from Turnberry for bookings made on behalf of the Air Force. He denied offering crew free golf carts at the resort, refuting aspects of a Guardian report
of early 2018
. The stay did not end there.
Also in September 2018, the Iowa Air National Guard, traveling back to the United States from an official visit to Kosovo on a KC-135 aircraft, stopped refueling in Scotland, according to a person familiar with the matter and a spokesman for the National Guard. Iowa.
The 185th Air Supply Wing outside of Sioux City, Iowa, which made the trip, had about 35 to 40 soldiers and pilots in need of housing, and eventually stayed in Turnbury. According to the spokesman, the crew doubled in the rooms and were provided with transportation to and from Prestwick.
The stop in Prestwick is due to fuel "restrictions" on flights outside Kosovo, a spokesman said. And the Turnberry overnight was organized through the Defense Travel System – essentially the Pentagon's domestic travel agent – and "targeted by a higher echelon … based on mission and operational requirements."
Then, in March this year, The 176th Maintenance Squadron – an Alaskan Air National Guard – is stationed at the Trump Turnberry Resort en route to Kuwait to deliver supplies. This shutdown was the initial discovery of the practice, to which POLITICO first
reported on Friday.
Finally, at the end of June this year, an air crew and its passengers en route to Iraq arrived in Turnbury by bus, according to a man who was there, and an Instagram post by an Air Force crew member.
The Air Force said they could not immediately confirm additional Turnberry stops or why the premises were selected for other potential accommodations in the area. But over the weekend, she noted that the March Turnberry stop is in the Pentagon's direction, with comparable or cheaper rates than other nearby hotels. However, the BBC's review of this election will evaluate "guidelines related to the use of civilian airports and selection of crew for en-route crews," according to an official note issued on Monday.
The memorandum sets a 30-day timetable to offer "recommendations for any proposed adjustments and changes to the process."
If Democrats have their way, the Pentagon may not even have the choice to remain in Trump's estate in the future.
passed by the House in July will block the Pentagon from spending money on 57 specific Trump properties. Under the provision, Trump can repeal the ban if he reimburses the Treasury Department for spending.
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The language, which passed by 223-205 votes, was included in the country's version of the National Defense Authorization Act.
The Democratic leaders of the House Committee on Armed Services and their Republican Senate counterpart are seeking a compromise defense bill later this month. It's unclear if the language would make it into the final bill, though Republicans called the proposal impractical and a partisan stunt meant to upset Trump.
House Speaker Adam Smith (D-Wash.) Said the revelations support the Democrats' argument leading to negotiations with the Senate.
"It's difficult because we try to put in place accountability measures and every time we do that, Republicans just yell that we just hate Trump," Smith said in an interview. "That is not the point. The point is that ethics matter within the government."
The stay at Turnberry comes as Prestwick's use of the Air Force has grown steadily in recent years. The shutdowns at the facility have nearly tripled since 2015, and overnights in the area have increased more than five times in the same period, the BBC said on Sunday.
From 2015 to 2019, Air Mobility Command aircraft stopped at the civilian airport 936 times. Crews have spent 659 nights in the area. The office did not say how many of those nights were in Turnberry.
The frequency of both stops in Prestwick and overnight stays in the area has increased every year since 2015. By August this year, the Air Force had stopped 259 times in Prestwick and had stayed overnight around the airport 220 times.
Brian Bender contributes to this report.
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