Pence's detour to Trump's Ireland resort reportedly cost taxpayers nearly $600,000

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The vice president racked up hundreds of thousands in limousine fees alone.

Mike Pence's trip to Trump's resort in Doonbeg, Ireland, last week — nearly 200 miles away from where he was scheduled to have meetings with Irish officials — cost taxpayers nearly $600,000 in limousine service fees alone, a new report has found.

The watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington reviewed the State Department contract for Pence's transportation and released a report on Monday detailing the $599,454.36 in costs Pence racked up during that trip.

"His itinerary included flying into Shannon Airport on Monday, 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 Wednesday," the group noted.

Reached for comment, a State Department spokesperson referred Shareblue Media to Pence's office. Pence's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The cost to taxpayers becomes even more glaring when compared to the bill the Obamas racked up during a similar trip in 2014.

For three days of travel, the company providing the limousine for the Obamas at the time, JP Ward and Sons of Bray, charged $114,000 to transport first lady Michelle Obama and daughters Sasha and Malia.

By contrast, when Trump visited Doonbeg in June, the company was paid nearly $1 million in taxpayer dollars for two days of transport.

At the time, Trump claimed that it was "convenient" for him to stay at his property, which was hundreds of miles out of the way from where he was holding meeting with Irish officials, including Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar.

Pence's trip has since triggered a congressional investigation.

Trump has not divested from his real estate holdings and staying at his properties helps to enrich him personally.

Both Pence's and Trump's trips follow a pattern of using the government to prop up Trump's properties, which have otherwise been suffering revenue and attendance losses since he took over the presidency.

The White House has struggled to explain the arrangements. Initially, Pence's chief of staff said Trump suggested Pence stay in Doonbeg. The White House later changed its story and said Pence had chosen the resort because he wanted to stay near his family's ancestral home.

The self-dealing has received the support of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who told reporters Monday that he believes booking rooms at Trump's hotels was like booking a room at "any other hotel."

New reporting recently indicated that the Air Force scheduled overnight stays at Trump's resort in Scotland on at least four occasions, raising more questions about tax dollars being used to enhance Trump's wealth.

Published with permission of The American Independent.