Published on : Friday, December 28, 2018
The U.S. State Department documents show that payments of $30,074 (£22,987) and $37,744 (£28,857) were authorised to cover Trump’s accommodation costs, paid directly to the hotel operating company that he owns.
Trump was joined at his resort by his wife, Melania, his son Eric, his White House spokeswoman, Sarah Sanders, and John Kelly, his White House chief of staff, for what was billed as a private visit.
In all, there are seven payments authorisations listed by the U.S. State Department tied specifically to Trump’s stay at his Turnberry resort, costing US taxpayers nearly $237,500 in total.
In addition to his entourage’s hotel costs at Turnberry Hotel, there was a further $122,589 spent on providing rooms for the White House press corps, listed as being with “miscellaneous” other hotels, and just over $47,000 on secure telecommunications at the hotel.
The payments have fuelled the controversy over Donald Trump’s use of his own hotel and recreational businesses for dozens of official visits and weekend breaks, particularly his private Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida and his golf club in Sterling, Virginia.
Mar-a-Lago is so frequently used by Trump it is known as the “winter White House”. The transport costs for each of his 17 visits there have been about $1m a trip, excluding his security and policing costs, although there is no evidence the US taxpayer foots the bill for his accommodation costs there.
The Turnberry golf resort, on the coast of Ayrshire, has been heavily loss-making since he bought it in 2014, running up an operating deficit of £17.6m last year.
Last year’s accounts show the business owes Trump £122m, in part due to an expensive refurbishment of the hotel and golf course. The payment authorisations, first reported by the Scotsman, show the US embassy in London made a $30,074 (£22,987) payment for “hotel rooms for VIP visit” to SLC Turnberry Ltd, Trump’s company, earlier this month.
The U.S. Embassy authorised a further $39,602 payment again marked as “hotel rooms for VIP visit”. The State Department logs show this has not yet been officially paid, but it is understood that nearly all that sum will be used to cover Trump’s costs.
Turnberry Hotel has already earned $7,670 from another “VIP visit” in May, thought to have been by Eric Trump, who is listed as a co-director with his brother, Donald Trump Jnr, of SLC Turnberry.
Some of the other major costs associated with Trump’s trip to Scotland remain unrecorded in the state department payment logs, such as the landing fees and refuelling charges for Air Force One, his official aircraft, at Glasgow Prestwick airport.
There is no obvious payment recorded for accommodation and expenses for his sizeable Security Service detachment in Scotland.