Report: Air Force rules stays at Trump’s Scotland resort did not violate regulations

October 27, 2019

President Donald Trump has won one battle in the fight against allegations of emoluments clause violations by his administration.

An Air Force review has concluded that overnight stays by Air Force personnel at Trump’s Turnberry golf resort in Scotland did not violate any rules, Politico reports. The review, conducted by the Air Force’s Air Mobility Command, did recommend that commanders use heightened discretion when determining overseas lodging for their crews, however.

Nothing to see here

At issue is a potential violation of the Consitution’s emoluments clause, which prohibits presidents from benefitting financially from their tenures in office. The House Oversight Committee — which until recently was headed by Democrat Rep. Elijah Cummings (MD), who died earlier this month — has long been investigating possible violations by the Trump administration.

But at least in this instance, the Air Force ruled Friday that no such impropriety occurred. According to its report, of the 545 Air Force crews that have stopped over the last five years to refuel at Glasgow Prestwick Airport (which is about 40 minutes from Trump’s resort, according to Politico), a whopping 77%, or 419 crews, stayed in hotels in the local area; 17%, or 95, stayed in Glasgow hotel; and just 6% of aircrews, or 31, stayed at Trump’s Turnberry resort.

“The distribution is consistent with policy and guidance for selecting aircrew accommodations,” the Air Force’s report reads, “and when aircrew are billeted outside the local Prestwick area, the distribution does not indicate a preference for any particular location.”

Planning for the future

The report went on to stress that although government agencies often work with the Defense Department to make accommodations on behalf of the aircrews, the final decision is left to the aircraft commanders.

“[T]he aircraft commander is the last link in the decision chain to ensure lodging arrangements are appropriate,” the report reads, adding that the commanders consider availability, suitability, expense, and proximity in making their decisions.

The report noted that “existing guidance” to the commanders, “and the processes used to apply that guidance, are sufficient,” but admitted that “educating aircrew on applicable regulations is a continuous process” and further training may be needed to ensure that “public perception” is also considered in these decisions.

“Although the review found no instances of inappropriate decision-making by aircrews transiting Prestwick Airport and lodging in the local areas, the broad nature of existing guidance suggests some additional focused training would be of value to affirm the role of the aircrew in the process,” the report concluded, according to The Scottish Sun.

Where there’s smoke…

Unsurprisingly, the report has already been found to be insufficient by many Democrats who are looking to tag Trump on an emoluments clause violation.

“We know there is smoke, and the report’s data is so incomplete and misleading, I can only conclude that there is fire,” Democrat Sen. Richard Blumenthal (CT) said in a statement, according to Politico. “The Air Force inspector general must open an immediate investigation to acquire the full accounting of taxpayers’ dollars spent at Trump Turnberry — and how much that spending has increased since President Trump took office.”

But one thing we’ve learned from all the Democrats’ “investigations” into Trump is that it doesn’t really matter if there isn’t any fire. When Dems see smoke, they’ll stop at nothing to pin the blame on President Trump. What a shame.

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Robert Ayers

Robert Ayers is a staff writer for Conservative Institute. He has a bachelor’s degree from Quinnipiac University and a J.D. from the University of Connecticut.