Pence defends stay at Trump property in Ireland
DUBLIN — U.S. Vice President Mike Pence on Tuesday defended his decision to stay at one of President Donald Trump’s properties while in Ireland in the face of criticism by Democrats and good government groups that he’s enriching Trump at taxpayers’ expense. He called the Trump property a “logical” choice.
Speaking to reporters in DubTrump, lin, where he spent the day, Pence spoke about his personal connection to the village of Doonbeg — the site of both the Trump International Golf Links & Hotel as well as family history.
“It’s deeply humbling for me to be able to come back to Ireland and have the opportunity to go to the very hometown of my mother’s grandmother,” said Pence. He also had dinner Tuesday at a pub in the village where he worked several weeks during his first visit to the island when he was 22. who owns hotels and golf clubs across the U.S. and in Europe, has come under intense criticism for frequenting properties he owns and profits from.
Marc Short, Pence’s chief of staff, told reporters aboard Air Force Two earlier that the decision to stay at the Trump property was made at the president’s “suggestion” and that Pence and his entourage were not staying for free.
Short said Pence’s office followed official protocol and received a State Department signoff. He said the club is the “one facility” in the Doonbeg area able to accommodate a group of their size.
Pence, who is traveling with his wife, mother and sister, had originally planned to visit the village at the end of a trip to Europe, spending a single night in the village after visits to Iceland, London and Dublin. But then Trump canceled his planned visit to Poland because of Hurricane Dorian, and asked Pence to take his place. That forced last-minute reshuffling of travel plans.
Instead of making two separate trips to Europe or canceling Pence’s trip, his staff switched around the stops, so that he traveled from Poland to Ireland to Iceland to London. Under the new schedule, Pence is staying two nights in Doonbeg, but flew the hour-or-so into Dublin on Tuesday for official meetings, including coffee with Irish President Michael Higgins.
Vice President Mike Pence holds a news conference Tuesday in Dublin, Ireland.