Vice President Mike Pence is embroiled in a scandal following news on Wednesday that he stayed at President Donald Trump‘s hotels in Ireland for two nights.

The vice president recently stayed at Trump International Golf Links & Hotel in Doonbeg on Ireland’s west coast. Pence reportedly was set to attend meetings with the country’s president and prime minister in Dublin, which is on Ireland’s east coast. Many people quickly questioned why Pence did not simply stay in Dublin for the encounters.

Pence’s chief of staff Marc Short claimed Trump had authorized Pence to stay at the hotel in Doonbeg. However, the vice president’s office contradicted that statement later that same day by saying Pence was the one who decided to stay at the golf club. Trump himself also gave the media conflicting remarks about the vice president’s stay at the hotel.

“I heard he was going there, but it wasn’t my idea for Mike to go there,” Trump told reporters on Wednesday. “Mike went there because his family’s there. That’s my understanding of it.”

Several current and former ethics officials blasted Trump by saying allowing members of his administration to stay at his family’s properties is another example of him using the presidency to benefit his businesses.

“This may not technically be illegal, but it’s an atrocious abuse of power to line the president’s pockets, and it’s a continuation of two years of profiteering by President Trump,” told Walter Shaub, the former head of the Office of Government Ethics who stepped down from the position in July 2017, The Hill.

“The White House wants to quibble over whether the president suggested it or the vice president thought it up … but what’s clear is that the president has set a tone all along that the use of his properties is not only allowed but encouraged,” Shaub added.

Trump and his administration have been criticized many times over the past two years over allegations White House officials have used taxpayer dollars for travel purposes or for golfing.

Pence also said in a statement that he chose to stay in Doonbeg due to his family’s links to the region and because it was more “logical” to “accommodate” security personnel at the golf club than in Dublin.

“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,” Pence said.

The controversy surrounding Pence also follows a recent report that Attorney General William Barr will pay approximately $30,000 to host a private party at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. in December.

 

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