The only surprise here is the utter brazenness.
Since April, the House Oversight Committee has been investigating why it was that crews from C-17 military transport planes make unusual stops on route to the Middle East, both coming and going. They crews stop to stay at Trump’s luxury Scotland resort, and the military has not answered the questions that have arisen surrounding this bizarre event. It is unknown whether this is now a routine practice or whether it was an isolated occurrence.
From Politico, this is flat stunning:
The inquiry is part of a broader, previously unreported probe into U.S. military expenditures at and around the Trump property in Scotland. According to a letter the panel sent to the Pentagon in June, the military has spent $11 million on fuel at the Prestwick Airport — the closest airport to Trump Turnberry — since October 2017, fuel that would be cheaper if purchased at a U.S. military base. The letter also cites a Guardian report that the airport provided cut-rate rooms and free rounds of golf at Turnberry for U.S. military members.
In other words, part of that $11 million to “refuel” and land at the airport found its way into Trump’s pocket through official government use of his Scotland resort.
Were that not bad enough, the Pentagon seems committed to hiding whatever it is doing:
“The Defense Department has not produced a single document in this investigation,” said a senior Democratic aide on the oversight panel. “The committee will be forced to consider alternative steps if the Pentagon does not begin complying voluntarily in the coming days.”
The most powerful, “executive agency,” the Defense Department, is now also ignoring Congress.
Normally, military flights to the Middle East make their stopover at – surprise! – U.S. military bases, where the fuel is much much cheaper, the accommodations nice, but don’t approach the $300 to $400 a night required for a luxury resrot. But, for some strange reason, the planes have stopped at Glasgow and the crews stayed up the road at a resort that just happens to be owned by the man who has used his office to bilk the public out of every dollar he possibly can.
And we can also feel some sympathy for the crews, who did not make the choice, and evidently had to shovel out some of their own money, because, well:
One crew member was so struck by the choice of hotel — markedly different than the Marriotts and Hiltons the 176th maintenance squadron is used to — that he texted someone close to him and told him about the stay, sending a photo and noting that the crew’s per diem allowance wasn’t enough to cover food and drinks at the ritzy resort.
The president’s greed created a situation such that a crew, on an official mission for our country, had to shell out some of their own money to cover the cost of meals and beverages, at a Trump resort, because Trump’s prices exceeded the government allotment.
Let that settle in a bit.
Let’s review. Other nations routinely book entire floors at Trump resorts and pay maximum price – no discounts – in order to gain favor with Trump who cares about money above all else, and rewards those who line his pockets. Trump often stays at his own resorts on his many vacations requiring his entourage of aids and secret service personnel to also stay at Trump’s resort with costs paid out of the U.S. Treasury. And Trump has informed the world that next year’s G7 will be held at his resort at Doral for the exact same reason, it is an event where people pay to attend, so might as well have them attend a location which lines Trump’s pockets.
I sense a trend here. Shocking that the man who has valued one thing throughout his life – money – continues to value that one thing above being president of the United States.
But, as Politico notes, the military money takes the concern to an entirely different level, which might be why the Pentagon has refused to speak to the House about the matter. (The Senate could not care less, they will let Trump declare himself emperor for life before they cross him.)
The spending at the Trump property — raises concerns about conflicts of interest and possible violations of the domestic emoluments clause of the Constitution, which prohibits the president from receiving any compensation from the federal government other than his salary. After being elected, Trump chose not to fully divest himself from his business interests, choosing instead to put his holdings in a trust that he can receive money from at any time.
Trump never divested himself from his assets. Other presidents divest their securities and other investments, turning them over to a trustee who invests the money in a manner kept secret from the president. The president can never know whether any particular decision would benefit him personally.
Trump, on the other hand, simply put his assets in a trust to be run by his children. He knows exactly what he owns, and clearly still directs the businesses. The conflicts of interest are clear, he makes no real attempt to hide them. It is a brazen “What are you going to do about it?” attitude that Republicans allow without question – because Trump is a Republican – while House Democrats get largely ignored or fought.
I have said this before. This is what living in an autocratic banana republic looks like from the inside. The leader answers to no one, he enriches himself at citizens expense, with no worry, excuse or shame, only entitlement. People who oppose the behavior get punished.
Last thought, recall the money and hours Republicans spent investigating Benghazi, convinced Obama and Clinton did something nefarious. Recall the outrage. Shameless
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