- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 4, 2019

President Trump said Wednesday he didn’t tell Vice President Mike Pence to lodge at his golf resort during a recent stop in Ireland, as the White House struggled to explain how the stay came about.

“I had no involvement, other than that it’s a great place,” Mr. Trump said at the White House. “It wasn’t my idea for him to go there.”

Mr. Pence is taking heat for staying two nights at the Trump-branded property in Doonbeg as part of an ongoing European tour.

Staying in Doonbeg required Mr. Pence to fly 180 miles to Dublin, in the east, before flying back to the western Irish coast in the evening. Taxpayers paid for the entourage’s stay, since it was official business.

Mr. Pence’s aides on Tuesday said Mr. Trump suggested, though didn’t order, the Pence team set up at Doonbeg, only to later issue a statement accepting full responsibility for the decision to stay there.

“I don’t suggest anything,” Mr. Trump told reporters, describing his general practice.

Mr. Pence’s grandfather grew up in the Doonbeg area, before immigrating to the U.S. The vice president and family members dined at a Doonbeg pub owned by a distant cousin late Tuesday.

“His family has lived there for many decades,” Mr. Trump said. “He knew I had this terrific place in Ireland, in Doonbeg.”

Mr. Trump also said he didn’t urge Attorney General William Barr to book his family Christmas party at the Trump hotel in downtown D.C., as critics worry the president is flaunting his properties to profit from the presidency.

“People like my product, what can I tell you?” Mr. Trump said. “I guess they say they want to stay at a place that’s better than someplace else.”

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