March 13, 2020
Taxpayers paid President Trump’s Doonbeg resort $15,144.94 for Secret Service lodging during Vice President Mike Pence’s September 2019 trip to Ireland, according to records obtained by CREW.
We can now say definitively that Pence’s detour not only cost taxpayers extra due to large transportation costs, but also that the bill subsidized one of Trump’s struggling businesses. Despite Trump spending $41 million to buy, renovate, and operate the property, Doonbeg has never turned a profit. That hasn’t stopped (and some suggest it has encouraged) Trump making a visit to the property.
Pence’s detour to Doonbeg raised eyebrows at the time of the trip given the resort’s inconvenient location across the country from his government meetings in Dublin. To accommodate Pence’s stay at Doonbeg, taxpayers also had to foot the bill for extensive travel. In September, CREW reported that government contracts for limousine transportation associated with the visit amounted to $599,454.36. The new documents show a $222,764.05 bill for the same limo service, but it is unclear whether that is in addition to the previously reported contracts, or a part of that cost.
The convoluted itinerary included meetings with Irish political leaders in Dublin on September 3rd, bookended by two nights in Doonbeg and about 4 hours of transit on that day alone. Pence’s schedule involved flying into Shannon Airport on September 2nd, driving with a motorcade for roughly an hour to Doonbeg, staying overnight, driving to Shannon, flying cross country on Air Force Two (and back), driving for more than an hour back to stay at Doonbeg again, and then back to Shannon on September 4th.
This is far from the first time that expensive Secret Service bills at Trump properties have come to light. According to the Washington Post, the Secret Service has paid Trump properties more than $628K since President Trump took office. Eric Trump has claimed that the Trump Organization charges the U.S. government “at cost” for their visits, which he has estimated to be “like 50 bucks.” While that claim was already dubious, this $15K bill for Pence’s two night stay at Doonbeg casts further doubt on the assertion.
When we take an accounting of taxpayer costs spent at Trump properties, we need to include the Vice President’s tab as well. Trump’s profiting off the presidency extends far beyond himself.