Democrats criticize Pence for staying at Trump hotel in Ireland

SHANNON, Ireland, Sept 3 (Reuters) - U.S. Vice President Mike Pence drew criticism from Democrats on Tuesday when he began a two-day visit to Ireland with meetings in the capital, Dublin, but stayed at a hotel owned by President Donald Trump almost 300 kilometers (180 miles) away.

Pence flew to Dublin on Tuesday after spending the night at the Trump International Golf Club in Doonbeg on the west coast of Ireland. The hotel also hosted the Trump family during a short trip to Ireland by the president in June.

Asked if Trump had suggested Pence stay at the property, the vice president's chief of staff, Marc Short, told journalists, "I think that it was a suggestion."

"It’s like when we went through the trip it’s like, `Well, he’s going to Doonbeg because that is where his family is from, it’s like `oh, you should stay at my place'," Short said. "It wasn’t like a `you must'. It wasn’t like a `you have to'."

California Democratic Congressman Ted Lieu on Twitter accused Pence of "funneling taxpayer money" to Trump by staying at the hotel. "You took an oath to the Constitution, not to @realDonaldTrump," Lieu said.

The Democratic National Committee also chimed in, saying in a post on its DNC War Room Twitter feed that Pence's choice of hotel meant "your tax dollars: making the Trump family richer."

Short said the original plan had been to hold meetings in Dublin and go to Doonbeg afterwards. A last-minute schedule change meant Pence would need to visit Dublin after over-nighting in Ireland, and no hotel in Dublin had been properly vetted.

Related: VP Mike Pence Abroad

12 PHOTOS
VP Mike Pence Abroad
See Gallery
VP Mike Pence Abroad
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence listens to Panama's President Juan Carlos Varela while delivering a joint message at the Presidential Palace in Panama City, Panama, August 17, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Lemos
Panama's President Juan Carlos Varela (L) and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence deliver a joint message at the Presidential Palace in Panama City, Panama, August 17, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Lemos
Panama's deputy Foreign Minister Luis Hincapie (R) talks to U.S. Vice President Mike Pence upon his arrival to the Tocumen international airport in Panama City, Panama, August 17, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Lemos
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence (R) shakes hands with Panama's President Juan Carlos Varela after delivering a joint message at the Presidential Palace in Panama City, Panama, August 17, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Lemos
Chile's President Michelle Bachelet and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence meet at the government house in Santiago, Chile August 16, 2017.REUTERS/Esteban Felix/Pool
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence arrives to meet with Chile's President Michelle Bachelet (not pictured) at the government house in Santiago, Chile August 16, 2017. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen arrive at the International Airport of Santiago, Chile August 16, 2017. REUTERS/Rodrigo Garrido
Argentina's Vice President Gabriela Michetti and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence shake hands at the Eva Peron hall inside The Casa Rosada Presidential Palace in Buenos Aires, Argentina August 15, 2017. REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci
A man holds a sign that reads "Pence, get out - Trump, get out" during a protest outside the U.S. Embassy against the visit by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence in Buenos Aires, Argentina August 15, 2017. REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence speaks next to Argentina's President Mauricio Macri during a news conference at the Olivos Presidential Residence in Buenos Aires, Argentina August 15, 2017. REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci
Argentina's President Mauricio Macri and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence shake hands at the Olivos Presidential Residence in Buenos Aires, Argentina August 15, 2017. REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci
Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos greets U.S. Vice President Mike Pence after his arrival in Cartagena, Colombia August 13, 2017. Colombian Presidency/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY.
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Pence's stay was paid for by the U.S. taxpayer, but the vice president personally paid for his sister and mother, who traveled with him, Short said. Pence's great-grandmother was from Doonbeg.

Trump has retained ownership of his hotels, golf courses and other businesses, but he gave control of the businesses to his sons shortly before he took office in January 2017.

Former government ethics officials and watchdog groups say Trump has failed to put safeguards in place to ensure that he does not directly profit from his actions as president. (Reporting by Alex Alper, writing by Conor Humphries, editing by Larry King)

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.