Vice President Mike Pence will be staying at a Trump-owned property hundreds of miles away from meetings in Dublin during his official visit to Ireland this week. Many are wondering: why?
The decision to commute across the country to Dublin for a chance to overnight at Trump-owned links comes as a particularly brazen example of potential self-dealing in the Trump Administration, and one that appears to make the logistics of Pence’s trip unnecessarily complicated.
The commute from Doonbeg to Dublin is around 142 miles as the crow flies. That’s roughly the equivalent to the journey between Newport News, Virginia and Washington D.C.
It’s an unenviable trip to make for two days of meetings.
And yet, to be fair to the Vice President, he has other reasons to stay in Doonbeg apart from the hometown allure of Trump links. Pence reportedly has distant family ties to Doonbeg. A far-flung cousin reportedly owns a local pub, for example.
Pence’s itinerary has him traveling to Shannon Airport, near Doonbeg, and then flying on Air Force Two to Dublin.
Pence’s chief of staff Marc Short defended the trip to reporters on Tuesday, saying that “if you’re going to stay in the Doonbeg area with a footprint of our size,” the Trump golf resort is the one “facility that can accommodate that.” Short also added that Doonbeg had been pre-scouted and secured by the Secret Service, and that last-minute changes to the trip meant that it was the only available place that Pence could stay which had been pre-checked.
Trump may not have branded resorts and hotels 142 miles from Washington D.C. and other major American cities. But to examine the wisdom of Pence’s two night stay at the Trump International Golf Links & Hotel Doonbeg Ireland, we took a look at a list of places 142 miles away from various American cities. These examples illustrate the distance of the Vice President’s commute — and the literal lengths he went to in order to stay at a Trump property.
The Vice President could consider moving to Norfolk, Virginia in order to work out of Washington D.C.’s Executive Office Building, adjacent to the White House. Norfolk features a military shipyard, proximity to Virginia Beach, and a lovely waterfront.
New York City
If Pence were to join TPM’s New York City-based staff and take on a similar commute to the one he faces in Ireland, he could find himself in Schenectady, New York.
Before ascending to the perch of Vice President, Pence was governor of Indiana. Were he to start a new job in Chicago, Pence could consider living in his home state. Fort Wayne is a relatively quick hop away from the windy city.
Should Pence want a retreat into hermitage after a glimpse at San Francisco’s vibrancy, he could buy a house adjacent to Yosemite National Park. The park’s western gateway lies 142 miles from the center of San Francisco.
Finally, Pence’s Doonbeg-Dublin commute matches that of someone who travels daily from Portland to Seattle. It may be hard to imagine the Vice President making that commute on a daily — or any — basis, but that’s also kind of the point.
This post has been updated.