Mike Pence’s chief of staff Marc Short told reporters Tuesday that Pence’s stay at Doonbeg was a matter of convenience and safety. The vice president wanted to stay in Dublin, where his sessions with officials are to be held, Short claimed, but an unspecified last-minute schedule change led to the decision to stay at the Trump International.
“It’s a facility that could accommodate the team,” Short said. “Keep in mind, the Secret Service has protected that facility for [Trump], too, so they sort of know the realities; they know the logistics around that facility.”
Trump also stayed at the hotel during his visit to Ireland; he tried to have a meeting with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar there in May, but Varadkar refused, leading the two heads of state to meet in an Ireland airport instead.
Pence’s history belies the claim:
Since 2017, Pence’s political group, the Great America Committee, has dropped about $224,000 at Trump properties, chiefly the Trump International Hotel in Washington and its on-site steakhouse, according to Federal Election Commission records maintained by ProPublica.
Such spending appears to be a family affair. Pence’s brother, freshman Rep. Greg Pence (R-IN), has also dropped considerable sums at the Trump hotel. In fact, Rep. Pence’s campaign amended a number of FEC filings this year after USA Today noted that the campaign appeared to be illegally paying for the congressman to live at the Trump hotel.