“I had nothing to do with the decision of our great @VP Mike Pence to stay overnight at one of the Trump owned resorts in Doonbeg, Ireland,” the president said in a statement on Monday, Sept. 9.
“Mike’s family has lived in Doonbeg for many years, and he thought that during his very busy European visit, he would stop and see his family!”
Trump sent a series of missives on Monday, attacking “the LameStream Media” and calling out CNN and MSNBC by name.
I had nothing to do with the decision of our great @VP Mike Pence to stay overnight at one of the Trump owned resorts in Doonbeg, Ireland. Mike’s family has lived in Doonbeg for many years, and he thought that during his very busy European visit, he would stop and see his family!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 9, 2019
His statement about Pence referred to the vice president staying at Trump’s hotel in Doonbeg when he was on a state visit to Ireland.
Pence told reporters that he was happy to visit Ireland and see family members. “If you have a chance to get to Doonbeg you’ll find it’s a fairly small place and the opportunity to stay at Trump National in Doonbeg, to accommodate the unique footprint that comes with our security detail and other personnel, made it logical,” he added on Sept. 3.
Pence’s chief of staff, Marc Short, told reporters the same day that Pence stayed at the property because of convenience and safety.
“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.”
He said the president suggested Pence stay there. “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,” Short said. “It’s like, ‘Well, you should stay at my place.’”
In a statement issued by Pence’s office after Short’s comments, the office said, “Because of some misreporting, we want to clarify that the decision to stay at Trump National in Doonbeg, Ireland was solely a decision by the Office of the Vice President and was based on the requirement to find accommodations near the Vice President’s ancestral hometown that could satisfy official meetings on both coasts of the Emerald Isle.”
The situation prompted Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee chairman, sent letters to the White House, Pence’s office, the Secret Service, and the Trump Organization to try to obtain details about the trip.
The committee is probing Trump’s potential conflicts of interest related to the U.S. Constitution’s Emoluments Clauses.
In the letter to Pence (pdf), Cummings wrote that “the committee does not believe that U.S. taxpayer funds should be used to personally enrich President Trump, his family, and his companies.”
He requested documents related to the trip, including how much it cost to taxpayers, and communications related to proposed or actual accommodations for the trip.
Doonbeg sits on the Atlantic Coast and was located about 180 miles from where Pence met with the country’s leaders.
The probe came as Air Force leaders said they were reviewing travel policies after a crew stayed at a Trump resort. The situation is also being probed by the same House committee.
Trump also wrote of that situation, posting on Twitter: “I know nothing about an Air Force plane landing at an airport (which I do not own and have nothing to do with) near Turnberry Resort (which I do own) in Scotland, and filling up with fuel, with the crew staying overnight at Turnberry (they have good taste!). NOTHING TO DO WITH ME.”