- US Vice President Mike Pence defended staying at Donald Trump’s hotel in Ireland, despite it being located 180 miles away from any of his official engagements.
- Pence and his entourage stayed at Trump National in Doonbeg on Monday, and travelled to the other side of the country to meet Irish leaders on Tuesday.
- Pence told The Associated Press it was “logical” to stay at Doonbeg as it was able “to accommodate the unique footprint that comes with our security detail and other personnel.”
- Critics from the Democratic Party accused Pence of using US taxpayer money to line the pockets of the president.
- Pence said he had existing plans to visit Doonbeg, as his great grandmother’s family was from there, and he had worked at a bar in the village when he was 22.
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US Vice President Mike Pence has defended staying at an Irish hotel owned by Donald Trump 140 miles from his official duties in Dublin, amid a barrage of criticism.
Pence told The Associated Press on Tuesday that it was “logical” to stay at Trump National despite its distance from his engagements, as the hotel was able “to accommodate the unique footprint that comes with our security detail and other personnel.”
“I understand political attacks by Democrats, but if you have the chance to get to Doonbeg you’ll find that it is a fairly small place,” he added.
Doonbeg, a village of 200, is on the opposite side of Ireland to Dublin, where Pence flew to meet Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Irish President Michael D. Higgins on Tuesday.
Air Force Two then flew Pence the 140 miles back to Doonbeg after the meetings ended, his official schedule shows.
Pence told reporters he was staying in Doonbeg, which he called “the very hometown of my mother’s grandmother”, because he worked there in a bar for several weeks in 1981 when he was 22.
Some Democrats criticised Pence’s choice of accommodation while in Ireland, with one lawmaker accusing him of corruption for staying at the president’s resort.
Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu of California tweeted: “Hey VP Mike Pence: You took an oath to the Constitution, not to Donald Trump. Funelling taxpayer money to POTUS by staying at this Trump resort is sooooooo corrupt.”
The Democratic National Committee’s War Room tweeted: “So the president ‘suggested’ his vice president to stay at his property, so that your taxpayer money could go straight to his family’s bank account.”
Marc Short, chief of Pence’s staff, had told reporters on Tuesday the decision to stay at Trump National was made at the President’s “suggestion.”
Short told Reuters US taxpayer dollars paid for Pence and his team, but that Pence paid for his sister and mother, who accompanied him on the trip.
Booking a suite at Trump’s Doonbeg resort costs upward of €300 ($US328) a night, according to its website.
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