In early Spring of this year, an Air National Guard crew made a curious stop on the way to Kuwait: Donald Trump’s Turnberry resort, about 50 miles outside Glasgow, Scotland.
The House Oversight committee is now investigating whether Trump has been bolstering his luxury golf resort in Scotland with the defense department after learning that the military spent $11 million on refueling at its closest airport and air force guards spent the night there during a routine mission to the Middle East.
Politico reported today that the investigation began in April, when members of the committee learned about the overnight stop and fuel stops.
Since October 2017, the defense department has logged 629 requests for fuel purchases at Prestwick Airport – the tiny airport which is closest to Turnberry, Trump’s money-losing resort.
In total, the purchases cost $11 million and it marks a ‘substantial’ increase in the amount US military has spent at the airport since Trump took office.
In previous years, it is reported, they would stop at airbases in Europe, where the fuel is cheaper.
The team could have stopped at Lakenheath Airbase, the U.S. Air Forces in Europe’s only F-15 fighter wing, which is 380 miles away.
Coupled with the fuel purchases is an overnight stay at Turnberry in spring when five air force guards spent the night there on their way to Kuwait.
The resort is 20 miles from the airport, where the five-man team from the 176th maintenance squadron refueled.
At around $160-a-night, the five star hotel is also considerably more expensive than the dozens of alternatives which are both closer to the airport and independent from the Trump family.
According to senior Democrats who spoke anonymously to Politico about the probe, the air force guards were shocked by the extravagant choice in hotel.
Typically, military bosses opt for cheaper options like Marriott or Hilton.
The Air Force said in a statement today that the C-17 stopover was “not unusual” but acknowledged the service is still investigating the Air Force operations and spending in Scotland.
The Air Force confirmed that seven crew members stayed at Turnberry en route to Kuwait.
Turnberry is so much more luxurious than their normal overnight stops that the troops’ daily allowance for meals was not enough to cover food at the resort.
Accusations that Trump’s properties are unfairly profiting off of his administration have dogged the president since entering office.
Ethics officials and lawmakers have raised concerns about foreign officials staying at Trump hotels, and noted that Trump supporters and industry groups regularly throw bashes at Trump-owned locations.
Trump is also considering hosting next year’s Group of Seven gathering of world leaders at his Doral resort in Florida, a potential financial boon for the property, and has previously stayed at the Turnberry property.
But the potential involvement of the military takes the issue to a different level.