09.05.19

Detroit Free Press: Peters demands answers from Pence about stay at Trump resort in Ireland

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., is demanding to know how much President Donald Trump's resort in Ireland is making off a recent stay by Vice President Mike Pence and his entourage.

Peters, who is the top ranking Democrat on the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, sent a letter Thursday to Pence with a series of questions about the cost of the stay.

He wants to know:

  • The total cost of the travel to Ireland, including that for his personal guests, security detail and other government officials
  • Any government expenses incurred at the Trump property, including any reimbursed after the fact by the vice president
  • The room cost for Pence, the security detail and any other government officials at the Trump property, as well as "comparable room costs" from other accommodations

Peters said the vice president's decision to stay at Trump's golf club in Doonbeg this month "raises serious questions about wasteful expenditures and possible conflicts of interest," noting that the club is more than 180 miles away from Dublin, where Pence attended meetings.

"I find it hard to believe that your office was unable to identify lodgings that could accommodate the security and logistical needs of your trip in the capital of Ireland," Peters said. He went on to say that such a stay "creates the risk that taxpayer funds are  being used to directly profit the president."

An aide to Pence initially said that the decision to stay at the Trump resort came after the president suggested it and it was determined the property was the best in terms of accommodating Pence's group. Later, however, Pence said he wanted to stay in Doonbeg because he has family ties there.

The president later said he had nothing to do with Pence staying at the resort and never suggested he do so

This isn't the first time Peters has raised concerns about Cabinet members and high-ranking Trump administration officials staying at Trump properties. 

In 2017, Peters and other Democrats proposed legislation that would have prohibited tax dollars from being used to house executive branch employees at properties owned by Trump, his family or any member of his Cabinet. The legislation died in the Republican-led Senate.


By:  Todd Spangler
Source: Detroit Free Press