Official data debunks the alleged scandal about which two journalists from Politico wrote that the U.S. Air Force is using an airport in Scotland supposedly to benefit a hotel owned by President Donald Trump.
The story, originally published in Politico by Natasha Bertrand and Brian Bender and later broadcast by CNBC political commentator Rachel Maddow, was about a C-17 military transport flight this year from the United States to Kuwait and back, says The Washington Examiner.
Bertrand and Bender reported that the plane stopped at Prestwick, a small airport in Scotland, to refuel, and also that the crew spent the night at Turnberry, a hotel owned by President Trump.
Although the story prompted House Democrats to announce that they will investigate these Air Force stops, the facts have already shown that the decisions occurred before President Trump arrived in the White House.
According to information provided by Air Force officials, the decision to use Prestwick for refueling was made in 2016, while Barack Obama was president.
In fact, military aircraft stopped at Prestwick 95 times in 2015, 145 times in 2016, 180 times in 2017, 257 times in 2018 and 259 times through August 2019, according to a statement by Air Force officials.
In this statement, they explained why this point was chosen for refueling in 2016 instead of using U.S. military bases in the area where fuel, journalists say, is cheaper.
“Prestwick’s 24-hour-a-day operations make it a more viable option for aircraft traveling to and from the U.S. Central Command Area of Responsibility compared to other military stopover locations that have imposed increasingly restrictive operating hours,” the military communiqué explained, according to The Washington Examiner.
They also said Prestwick “has a large parking area, is open 24/7/365, and has been contracted by DoD for fuel at standardized prices,” tearing down the argument that this choice of airport is more expensive for U.S. taxpayers.
As far as accommodation is concerned, the communiqué makes it clear that the members of the crew choose the accommodation they want to pay with the per diem they have.
“Aircrew members are given a per diem for expenses and quite honestly, they have the right to pick any location and food choices that will honor their allocated amount,” the statement said.
President Trump said
on Twitter that he had nothing to do with the choice of airport or hotel.