Mike Pence is facing criticism after deciding to stay at a Trump resort in Ireland rather than a hotel in Dublin where his official meetings are taking place. The vice president opted to stay at Trump Internation Golf Links and Hotel in Doonbeg, which is 180 miles from Dublin where his official business is happening, according to The Hill.
Pence’s staff told reporters that the hotel the vice president was originally going to stay at in Dublin hadn’t been vetted ahead of time and a last-minute schedule change forced them to stay at the far-away Trump resort.
“They had done all the advance work. And the facility, we knew, was safe and protected. And if you’re going to stay in the Doonbeg area with a footprint of our size, that is the one facility that can accommodate that,” chief of staff Marc Short told reporters. “So that’s the way we went about changing travel for this week.”
As a result, Pence will be flying by plane to Dublin on the western coast for meetings and then back to Doonbeg on the eastern coast following his business.
Short admits that Donald Trump wanted Pence to stay at his resort, though he didn’t demand that the vice president stay there.
“I don’t think it was a request, like a command. I think that it was a suggestion,” he said. “It wasn’t like a, ‘You must.’ It wasn’t like, ‘You have to.’ It’s a facility that could accommodate the team.”
Pence’s travel expenses are paid for by U.S. taxpayers since he is traveling for official business, prompting critics to say that the politician is wasting money that could be used elsewhere.
Ted Lieu, a Democratic Representative from California, said that he was channeling taxpayer funds into Trump’s bank account by staying at the resort.
Trump suggested that Mike Pence stay at his Irish golf club on an official trip funded by taxpayer dollars, Pence's chief of staff told reporters. https://t.co/h57V5UZESu
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) September 3, 2019
Short assured reporters that Pence is paying for his mother and sister’s travel expenses since the two are joining him on the official trip. Pence was scheduled to end his European trip in Doobeg after attending a World War II ceremony in Poland. The vice president has familial ties in the area, so he planned to spend a little time exploring the Doonbeg region.
Trump similarly stayed at the Doonbeg resort in Ireland in June. He faced criticism at the time for promoting his personal business while acting as president. According to Business Insider, the president has spent 227 days at a golf course since taking office.