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Amid Controversy, Maine National Guard Confirms Stay At Trump Resort

Jeff J. Mitchell
Getty Images via NPR
Donald Trump during a press conference at his Turnberry golf resort in Scotland in 2016 before becoming president.

The Maine National Guard is confirming that a unit of the air guard's refueling wing last year stopped at a Scottish airport and stayed at President Trump's nearby luxury resort.

The spokesperson says a KC-135 aircraft landed at Glasgow Prestwick Airport in September of last year after about a two-month deployment at a U.S. air base in Qatar, and then overnighted at Trump's Turnberry resort about 30 miles away.

The crew's stay at Turnberry was first reported by POLITICO, which obtained a voucher outlining the KC-135 crew's itinerary.

It's one of several instances of military personnel overnighting at the president's golf resort that has triggered an investigation by the House Oversight Committee to determine whether the Pentagon and U.S. taxpayers are subsidizing a struggling resort that posted a surge in revenue last year.

Military records show a steady increase in stops at the Prestwick airport and overnight stays nearby.

The guard spokesperson referred additional questions to the Air Force, which announced Sunday that it's reviewing all crew stays at Trump properties. The review comes after confirmed reports that another Air National Guard crew stayed at Trump's Turnberry Resort earlier this year.

In June, the House Oversight Panel sent a letterto the Pentagon saying the military has spent $11 million on fuel at the Prestwick airport since October of 2017, and it also cited news reports that the airport provided discount rates and free rounds of golf at Turnberry for U.S. military members.

President Trump responded to the news reports with a tweet asserting that he has "nothing to do with" with the Prestwick airport.

In 2014, the airport and the Trump Organizationannounced a business partnershipthat would benefit both the struggling airport and Trump's luxury resort.

It was not immediately clear how often crews from Maine's Air National Guard landed at Prestwick or may have stayed at the Turnberry resort.

The Air Force has said crew members paid standard per diem rates for stays at Trump's resort.

The Maine National Guard spokesperson says the September 2018 Prestwick landing, which he described as a location approved by Air Mobility Command and on an optimal flight path to return to Maine.

Originally published 2:53 p.m. Sept. 9, 2019

Journalist Steve Mistler is Maine Public’s chief politics and government correspondent. He is based at the State House.