Mike Pence’s trip to Ireland – where absolutely nobody turned up to support him – cost more than half a million dollars
Records show the detour Mike Pence took to the Irish village of Doonbeg cost US taxpayers almost $600,000 in limousine fees alone as he commuted 181 miles to his meetings in Dublin.
The US vice president is facing strong criticism for choosing to stay at Trump’s five-star golf resort in Doonbeg, rather than Ireland’s capital on his official state visit.
The tiny coastal village has a population of just 754 and is more than three hours’ drive from Dublin. Mike Pence reportedly has family connections to the area as it is where his great-grandmother was raised.
Pence’s security detail lined the streets of Doonbeg with crowd control barriers in anticipation of his arrival, but this turned out to be unnecessary as literally no one turned up to greet him.
Welcome to Ireland-a MASSIVE crowd pic.twitter.com/ep0oAnt6rV
— Jesus Chrysler (@JesusChrysler15) September 4, 2019
The empty streets stood in stark contrast to Barack Obama’s visit, where he was met by a crowd of thousands of well-wishers.
The Irish Times summed up Pence’s state visit with the headline: “That didn’t go very well.”
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Pence’s taxpayer-funded stay at the luxurious Trump resort – along with his wife, sister, and mother – was held as proof that “corruption has become routine” under Trump.
Pence’s chief of staff initially said that Trump himself suggested the hotel, but the president later denied he had any involvement, telling reporters: “I don’t suggest anything.”
The use of Trump’s hotel is now the subject of a a congressional inquiry, with Democrats expressing concern at the blatant conflict of interest involved.
The trip’s costs were uncovered by government watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, which described Pence’s Doonbeg stay as “highly inconvenient and extremely expensive”.
They found that the State Department issued 21 contracts to cover ground transportation expenses, including travel, lodgings, relocation expenses and the recruitment of drivers during Pence’s two-day visit.
The $600,000 limo bill does not include the cost of Pence’s Secret Service detail and their lodging. In contrast, the limo costs for Obama’s 2013 Ireland visit totalled $114,000, according to NBC News.