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Trump: Military crew's stay at his Scotland resort 'had nothing to do with me'

President Donald Trump speaks prior to presenting Medals

President Donald Trump speaks prior to presenting Medals of Valor and Heroic Commendations in the East Room at the White House on Monday. Credit: James Carbone

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Monday said he had “nothing” to do with military crews booking taxpayer-funded stays at his luxury resort in Scotland, as House Democrats and Air Force officials have opened separate probes into the choice of lodging during overnight trips

The president, in a series of morning tweets, also said he played no role in Vice President Mike Pence’s stay at a Trump-branded golf resort in Doonbeg, Ireland, last week, and vowed to release "a financial report on me" to show that he doesn't "need to have somebody take a room overnight at a hotel" to prop up his chain of hotels.

Trump, on Twitter, also took aim at the three Republicans waging a long-shot primary bid against him, calling them "The Three Stooges." The president later told reporters he had no intention of debating the group ahead of the 2020 election.

The presidents' business entanglements and the uptick in federal agencies and government officials booking at Trump hotels since he took office. have come under renewed scrutiny over the past few weeks. 

House Democrats last week launched an investigation into the cost of Pence’s trip, which required the vice president to be shuttled back and forth on Air Force Two because of the roughly 200-mile distance between the resort and Pence's meetings in Dublin. On Friday, Politico reported that the House Oversight Committee has been investigating military spending at Trump’s Turnberry Resort in Scotland, including why an Air National Guard crew stayed at the resort and refueled at a nearby commercial airport during a return trip from Kuwait earlier this year. Previous crews have typically refueled and spent the night at less expensive U.S. military bases in Europe.

The Air Force has also ordered a review into the selection of overnight accommodations, according to Politico.

On Monday, Trump tweeted: “I know nothing about an Air Force plane landing at an airport (which I do not own and have nothing to do with) near Turnberry Resort (which I do own) in Scotland, and filling up with fuel, with the crew staying overnight at Turnberry (they have good taste!). NOTHING TO DO WITH ME.”

In a follow-up tweet, the President also said he “had nothing to do with” Pence’s decision to stay in Doonbeg, noting that Pence made the choice to stay there to see family who live in the area.

Last week Pence’s chief of staff Marc Short said Pence opted to stay at the golf resort instead of hotels closer to Dublin, at the suggestion of Trump, but a day later, amid outcry over the stay, Pence’s office walked back Short’s statements, and said Pence wanted to stay in Doonbeg because of his ancestral ties to the location.

On Friday, the House Judiciary and Oversight committees launched separate probes into Pence’s trip and whether the president is improperly profiting off government funded stays at his chain of resorts.

The House Oversight probe into the stay in Scotland, is also examining military spending at Glasgow’s Prestwick Airport, which Democrats on the committee, in a letter to the Defense Department obtained by Politico, said appears “to have increased substantially since the election.”

The airport, 30 miles away from Trump’s resort, has long been saddled by debt, and Scottish officials announced in June their intent to sell the airport. Politico reported that the House Oversight Committee in its letter to the Defense Department said the airport is “integral” to the success of Trump’s resort.

Asked about the investigations, Trump told reporters at the White House on Monday: "I don't own the airport. I own a lot of different places. Soon you'll find that out, because at some point prior to the election, I'm going to be giving out a financial report on me."

Trump, who has refused to release his tax returns, said the report "will be extremely complete."

Asked if he was willing to debate his three Republican challengers — former Rep. Mark Sanford of South Carolina, conservative former Rep. Joe Walsh of Illinois, and former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld — Trump said he opposed the idea.

“They’re all at less than 1 percent. I guess it’s a publicity stunt,” Trump said. "To be honest, I’m not looking to give them any credibility."

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