Pence trip to Doonbeg cost nearly $600,000 in ground transportation

Vice President Pence’s trip to President TrumpDonald John TrumpMarine unit in Florida reportedly pushing to hold annual ball at Trump property Giuliani clashes with CNN's Cuomo, calls him a 'sellout' and the 'enemy' Giuliani says 'of course' he asked Ukraine to look into Biden seconds after denying it MORE’s Doonbeg, Ireland, resort cost taxpayers nearly $600,000 in ground transportation fees, according to State Department receipts

The receipts, first noticed by the left-leaning watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, totaled over $599,000 during the course of Pence’s stay, which required him to bounce back and forth between Doonbeg and Dublin for his official meetings. 

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Former President Obama’s visit to Ireland cost just $114,000 in ground transit and used the same limousine company, according to receipts reviewed by NBC News.

The State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.

Pence’s stay at the Trump resort received intense scrutiny from congressional Democrats who say it is evidence that the president is directing administration spending to his personal financial benefit.

The stay coincided with another report revealing that Air Force crew members stayed at Trump Turnberry in Scotland. 

Pence has defended his trip, saying his family has ties to Doonbeg and that staying at a Trump property that is already under Secret Service protection made logistical sense to him.

“I understand political attacks by Democrats, but if you have a chance to get to Doonbeg, you’ll find it’s a fairly small place, and the opportunity to stay at Trump National in Doonbeg, to accommodate the unique footprint that comes with our security detail and other personnel, made it logical,” he told reporters last week. 

Marc Short, Pence’s chief of staff, initially said that Trump made a “suggestion” to Pence to stay at Doonbeg, but later reversed course and clarified the president played no role in the decision. 

“I don’t suggest anything,” Trump told reporters last week. “I don’t suggest it.”