Since Vice President Mike Pence is on government business in Dublin, Ireland, you’d think he’d stay near the city.
Instead, at President Trump’s “suggestion,” Pence is staying at Trump’s golf course 180 miles away in Doonbeg, Ireland, a village on the opposite coast of the country, and commute by plane — at taxpayer expense.
Defending the decision to reporters on Tuesday, Pence’s chief of staff, Marc Short, clarified that the president didn’t “command” the stay. It was a suggestion, Short said.
“I don't think it was a request, like a command,” Short said, according to NBC News. “I think that it was a suggestion.”
“It wasn't like a, 'You must,'” Short continued. “It wasn't like, ‘You have to.’ It's a facility that could accommodate the team. Keep in mind, the Secret Service has protected that facility for him, too, so they sort of know the realities, they know the logistics around that facility."
Pence’s mother, wife, and sister are all with him in Ireland, too, though Short said that the vice president will personally pay for his family’s expenses on the trip. That will presumably include all flights from Doonbeg to Dublin, which are over an hour.
Trump also visited his Doonbeg hotel in June during a brief visit to Ireland.
The Pence family reportedly has “deep family ties” to the village of Doonbeg, where his great-grandmother was born, and was originally planning on ending the trip to Ireland there anyway.
In response to a tweet noting that both Trump and Pence were staying at Trump properties on Labor Day, the Democratic National Committee tweeted, “Your tax dollars: making the Trump family richer.”
Just last week, Trump suggested at the G7 summit that he could host next year's summit of global leaders at his golf resort in Doral, Florida. An NBC analysis of Trump’s schedule since taking office shows that the president spent nearly 300 days — or just under one-third of his time in office — at one of his own properties.
In 2017, a group of attorneys general sued Trump for allegedly violating the Emoluments Clauses of the Constitution, which prohibit the president from accepting financial gifts from foreign governments. The lawsuit alleges that Trump has accepted money from foreign officials through his ownership of the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C.
Cover: U.S. Vice President Mike Pence during a joint news conference with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at Farmleigh House in Dublin, Ireland, Sept. 3, 2019. (Photo by Liam McBurney/PA Images via Getty Images)
This article originally appeared on VICE US.