A representative for Vice President Mike Pence has responded to inquiries made by House Democrats into the VP’s trip to Ireland earlier this month.
Mark T. Short, Pence’s chief of staff, sent a letter to House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) regarding the latter’s investigation into the vice president’s recent trip. The Daily Wire previously reported that Cummings demanded documents from the White House, the Vice President’s Office, the Secret Service, and the Trump Organization, none of which handled Pence’s travel and accommodations for Ireland.
“Please be advised that the Department of State approved all lodging accommodations for the Vice President and [Office of the Vice President] OVP staff related to the September 2019 trip to Poland, Ireland, Iceland, and the United Kingdom,” Short wrote in the letter, obtained by The Daily Wire. “OVP did not book or reserve any of the hotel accommodations in connection with this trip, and no funds appropriated to OVP were expended during the trip.”
Short continued by explaining that Pence’s stay at President Donald Trump’s hotel in Iceland occurred because that hotel offered the best rates on short notice.
“The Department of State conveyed to OVP in August (prior to the trip) that the general room rates offered by Trump International Doonbeg were competitive and even less expensive than those offered by the Radisson in Limerick, Ireland,” Short wrote. “The Radisson ultimately served as the hotel for the traveling press.”
Pence was invited to visit Ireland in March. Pence accepted, and the trip was planned for September 6, 2019, with one overnight stay in Doonbeg. Pence was scheduled to meet with Ireland’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade just outside Doonbeg. On August 29, according to Short’s letter, Pence was asked to attend an event in Warsaw, Poland on September 1 “to commemorate Polish determination in fighting Nazi Germany and subsequent Soviet occupation.”
Trump could not attend the Poland event because he needed to oversee the federal response to Hurricane Dorian, Short explained.
“Instead of flying back and forth to Europe twice in the same week, the Office of the Vice President asked if the Ireland meetings could be moved to September 2, 2019 and September 3, 2019,” Short wrote. “The government of Ireland accommodated the date change request, but needed to rearrange the order of the original schedule.”
After consulting with the Secret Service, the original hotel plan could not be changed on short notice, so they needed to find different accommodations.
Short criticized Cummings for leaving out information regarding the Ireland trip, specifically, Cummings’ claim that no official meetings took place outside of Dublin, Ireland.
“On the contrary, the Vice President participated in a formal bilateral meeting with the Honorable Simon Coveney, Ireland’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, in Shannon, Ireland, which is in western Ireland,” Short wrote.
Cummings had sought information related to Pence’s travel because, as NBC reported, the stay at Trump’s hotel was evidence “the president is using his position to enrich himself.”
House Oversight ranking member Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) had previously responded to Cummings investigation by accusing the Maryland Democrat of a “partisan attack.”
“Although you coordinated your attack with Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, you failed to consult with any Republican Members before demanding voluminous information from four separate entities – none of which bore responsibility for the lodging and accommodations in Ireland,” Jordan wrote. “We can only assume that these letters were the result of a rushed process to capitalize on news reporting about the Ireland travel, rather than responsible and deliberative oversight.”