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Mike Pence faces heat over Doonbeg boondoggle



Pence's journey was intended to show his origins and support a key US ally. Now – with one stop on the left – diplomacy is overshadowed by ethics and this ally, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, is facing its own political crisis.

Vice President's problems begin in the village of Doonbeg, Ireland, with a population of less than 1,000, where he stayed two nights at Trump's five-star golf property. You had to travel 181 miles back and forth to Dublin, where he had meetings with government officials.

We were faced with the first questions as to why his office chose this hotel – "Have lower cost options been considered? any conflict of interest here? "- Pence's chief of staff, Mark Short, told reporters that the president had proposed it.

When this answer raised only more questions, Pence intervened. He said that this move was because he is in touch with the city. and this is the only place that can "shelter the unique footprint that comes with our security details and other employees." a statement from Doonbeg at about 3:30 local time, accusing "ind avil reporting "- even though he and the vice president had already explained the situation.

Trump was irritated

  Pence stands at Trump resort in Dongbeg hours away from official meetings

Trump was annoyed that he was accused of breaking into Pence's premises, CNN sources said, and Pence – who closely monitors his coverage in the media – was also outraged by the negative attention.

Trump has previously suggested cabinet officials and advisers stay in his properties while you are traveling. He himself spent 289 days under Trump's presidency, according to CNN.

A person familiar with the president's thinking explained the model as Trump's true belief that his places were the best place to house aides and made similar recommendations to friends who did not work for him.

In the past, however, assistants usually ignored the recommendations, knowing that this would lead to a flurry of ethics issues.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, a number of white House employees expressed disbelief that the Pence office thought spending two nights at Trump International Golf Links & Hotel was a good idea.

Pence made several trips abroad while on duty – and on occasion sent in lieu of the president – but he has never encountered turbulence like in Europe this week.

His chief of staff, Nick Ayers, resigned in December 2018 after rejecting a bid to become chief of West Wing. His communications director Jarrod Agen resigned in June to take a position with Lockheed Martin. His media director quit this month to become communications director for Juul, an e-cigarette company. And his press secretary, Alice Farah – who was originally scheduled to serve this trip but did not travel – is starting a new job at the Pentagon soon. Pence did not choose a substitute.

Short returned to administration last December to become Pence's chief. He has served as President's Legislative Director for most of his first two years in office and remains a trusted advisor to the Vice President.

Diplomatic Issues

  Boris Johnson just took a huge gambling game on Brexit [19659019] Boris Johnson just took a huge gambling game on Brexit

Still, the visit to Ireland was marked not only by questions ethics, but also diplomatic ones. During a meeting with the country's leader, Pence expressed fervent support for a quick divorce between the United Kingdom and the European Union, despite concerns in Ireland that could force a hard border with the North.

Later this week, Pence is due in London for meetings with Johnson, who suffered a major political defeat on Tuesday in parliament.

Johnson enjoys the enthusiastic support of Trump, who referred to him as his British equivalent and openly expressed a preference for him over his predecessor, Theresa May. But Trump's conviction that Johnson is the man delivering Brexit has now been fueled by a rebellion within the British Conservative Party.

At the moment, Pence's office says his visit to London is still ongoing. But this is because Johnson's future is uncertain as lawmakers move to prevent a futile Brexit and Johnson calls for new snap elections.

Speaking in Ireland on Tuesday, Pence made it clear that the US is supporting Johnson in its bid to end Brexit by the 31 October deadline – which could have grave consequences for the Irish border.

"As the Brexit deadline approaches, we are calling on Ireland and the European Union to negotiate in good faith with Prime Minister Johnson and work to reach an agreement that respects UK sovereignty and minimizes trade disruption," he said .

Comments were accepted in Ireland as a sign that Trump and Pence were on board with firm holders over Ireland's interests.

An article in the Irish Times: "How Mike Pence crashed on the new carpet in Ireland's spare room . "

Jim Acosta of CNN Ext Ines for this report.


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