WASHINGTON — On the last leg of a European trip, Vice President Mike Pence is scheduled for two days of meetings in Dublin, but he is staying on the other side of Ireland in Doonbeg at a private golf club owned by President Trump.
It was Mr. Trump who made the “suggestion” that Mr. Pence, his family and his entourage stay at the Trump International Golf Links & Hotel Doonbeg, Marc Short, an aide to Mr. Pence, said on Tuesday.
Mr. Pence has family roots in Doonbeg and is traveling with his wife, his mother and his sister. They were originally set to end their trip in Doonbeg, but the schedule was rejiggered after Mr. Trump directed Mr. Pence to stand in for him as an emissary on an official trip to Poland. On Thursday, Mr. Pence is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Boris Johnson in London.
Mr. Short said in an interview that Mr. Pence was personally covering his family’s expenses at Doonbeg. Still, the coterie of Secret Service and other members of the vice president’s traveling party staying there will mean a substantial bill paid by taxpayers.
“I don’t think it was a request, like a command,” Mr. Short told reporters traveling with the vice president. “I think that it was a suggestion.”
He added: “It’s like when we went through the trip, it’s like, well, he’s going to Doonbeg because that’s where the Pence family is from. It’s like, ‘Well, you should stay at my place.’”
Mr. Short said that Doonbeg was the one venue that could accommodate the Secret Service, which protected the club this year when Mr. Trump stayed there on an official visit to Ireland.
Since he took office, Mr. Trump has repeatedly blended his private business with government expenditures. Republicans and the president’s campaign have held fund-raisers at the Trump International Hotel in Washington. His clubs make money from taxpayers when the Secret Service and government officials stay there. And during the transition period, the inaugural committee — which was funded by private dollars — spent $1.5 million at the Trump hotel in Washington.
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