Mike Pence Camp Fires Back Against Criticism over Staying at Trump Hotel in Ireland
Amid charges from at least one Democrat that Vice President Mike Pence should not have stayed at a Trump Organization-owned property during his trip to Ireland, Pence’s aides are suggesting that common sense should get a fair hearing amid critics’ rush to judgment.
Pence was staying at the Trump International Golf Links and Hotel in Doonbeg, Ireland, located on Ireland’s west coast.
From a personal perspective, the choice made sense. After all, Pence was traveling with his mother and sister on a trip that blended business and personal touches.
Further, Pence was planning to pay the costs of his family members.
From the get-go, Pence was planning to go to the region, which is the ancestral home of his family on his mother’s side.
The vice president has been there before to see the town where his mother’s great-grandmother was born.
Enter a tweet from Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu of California that called out Pence for staying in a Trump Organization-owned property on the west coast when his business in Ireland was on the east cost, in and around Dublin.
Hey @VP @mike_pence: You took an oath to the Constitution, not to @realDonaldTrump. Funneling taxpayer money to @POTUS by staying at this Trump resort is sooooooo corrupt.
Also, I hope you don’t encounter bedbugs. Many people say there are lots of bedbugs at Trump properties. https://t.co/KgJfnMRSgt
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) September 3, 2019
That led to headlines like the one in HuffPost that read, “Mike Pence Goes 3 Hours Out Of His Way To Stay At Trump’s Irish Golf Resort.”
Marc Short, Pence’s chief of staff, downplayed the issue.
“I think Ted Lieu’s often looking to try to get into you all’s news stories. So I’m not too worried about Ted Lieu’s comments,” he told reporters, according to USA Today.
Short said Pence’s initial itinerary had him staying in Dublin and then visiting Doonbeg. However, that did not mesh with the advance planning, Short explained.
No hotel in Dublin had been vetted for Pence in terms of security, Short said, The Hill reported. Doonbeg, which President Donald Trump himself had previously visited, was a logical alternative.
“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,” Short said.
“So that’s the way we went about changing travel for this week,” he added.
Short said Trump mentioned the property to Pence.
“I don’t think it was a request, like a command,” Short said. “I think that it was a suggestion.”
“It wasn’t like a, ‘You must.’ It wasn’t like, ‘You have to.’ It’s a facility that could accommodate the team. Keep in mind, the Secret Service has protected that facility for him, too, so they sort of know the realities, they know the logistics around that facility,” he said.
The trip followed “normal protocol” and was given the State Department’s approval, he said.
After his election as president, Trump passed control of the Trump Organization to a trust controlled by his sons, Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr.
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