There have been so many Trump scandals that it seems impossible to keep them straight without a scorecard, but the Scottish airport deal is standing out for just how many levels of scum it contains. As more details have emerged, it’s become clear that diverting a military transport plane for much more expensive fueling at Glasgow’s Prestwick Airport was not a one-time thing. Neither was lodging air crews at Trump’s Turnberry golf resort. Not only was cheaper fuel available at military bases along the way, along with free lodging, but simply taking the plane to Scotland meant moving far from the normal route, adding more miles to the plane and resulting in hours of downtime.
The New York Times is one of several sources to report that Trump’s Turnberry course actually worked out a partnership with Prestwick Airport that dates back to 2014. That partnership was set up with direct action by Trump himself to work with the Scottish government in creating a plan to attract more people to the airport, and to his golf resort. The deal included putting Turnberry at the top of a list of places where Prestwick could book aircrews for overnight stays—not just military crews, but also those on private and commercial planes—even though Trump’s resort is over 20 miles away.
The Defense Department and Prestwick officials also stated on Monday that the airport has an agreement with the U.S. Air Force for refueling planes. That kind of agreement is common at most large airports capable of refueling transport planes if necessary. But since the agreement sets a price that’s well above the cost of refueling at a U.S. base, these agreements are rarely executed outside of emergencies.
The $10 million fuel bill that the Air Force has run up at Prestwick since 2018 shows that the airport has been the site of more than one such stopover. In fact, Politico reports that there have been at least four Air Force crews dropping in for a round at Trump’s Scottish course in just the last year. The Air Force has provided no reason for why these planes did not fuel at the normal bases in Germany or Spain, or why they were diverted well off their normal course to spend the night soaking up far more expensive jet fuel—while putting money in Trump’s pocket.
As Congress returns from the August break, the situation at Turnberry is expected to be a high priority on the crowded list of things that need to be investigated. The combination of wasting military funds and lining Trump’s pocket demands close scrutiny.
Since this is happening at the same time that Trump is stealing military funds, using the National Emergency Act under the pretense that the nation desperately needs his intentionally ugly fence, it adds an extra reason to push this investigation. Military families are being asked to do without schools, housing, and medical care, supposedly to provide funds for Trump’s fence.
But how much of the military’s budget is simply going to Trump?