Pence stays at Trump hotel in Ireland, raising eyebrows

Washington (AFP) –


US Vice President Mike Pence, currently visiting Ireland, has chosen to stay at a golf resort owned by Donald Trump, renewing controversy over spending taxpayer money on the president's family businesses.

The Trump International Golf Links & Hotel is located in Doonbeg, on the west coast of Ireland, about 185 miles (300 kilometers) from Dublin where Pence's official meetings are being held.

Asked if Trump had asked Pence to stay there, the vice president's chief of staff Marc Short said it wasn't "like a command."

"I think that it was a suggestion," Short said.

He said Pence planned to go to Doonbeg because his family was from there so Trump offered, "Well, you should stay at my place."

Besides, he said, the Secret Service has protected the facility "so they sort of know the realities, they know the logistics around that facility."

Representative Ted Lieu, a Democrat from California, sharply criticized the decision.

"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," he tweeted.

The use of Trump's various properties around the president, his entourage, and officials of other governments has been the subject of recurrent criticism.

Much of it revolves around a clause in the US Constitution that prohibits US officials from receiving "emoluments," or payments, from foreign governments.

Trump recently said he envisions the next Group of Seven summit, scheduled for next year in the United States, being held at his Doral golf resort near Miami.

"We haven't found anything that could even come close to competing with it," he told reporters on the sidelines of last month's G7 summit in Biarritz, France.

Those comments prompted Democrats to threaten a congressional investigation.