Pence distances Trump from uproar over VP's stay at president's Irish golf club

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By Allan Smith  with NBC News Politics
Image: Marine One, carrying President Donald Trump and first lady Melania T
Marine One, carrying President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump comes in to land at the Trump International Golf resort near the village of Doonbeg in Ireland.   -   Copyright  Paul Faith AFP - Getty Images file

Vice President Mike Pence's office on Wednesday sought to distance President Donald Trump from Pence's stay at Trump Doonbeg during his visit to Ireland.

In a statement, the vice president's office said Trump did not "direct" the vice president to stay at the golf club and the decision was "solely" made by Pence's office.

The statement was the third time within the past day that Pence or his team sought to clarify why he stayed at the president's Irish golf club on the opposite side of the country as its capital city Dublin, where Pence's meetings were set to take place with Irish officials. Rather than stay in Dublin, Pence opted to make the back-and-forth trip from Doonbeg, more than an hour flight each way.

Pence's stay has revived accusations that Trump is personally profiting from being president through use of his hotel in Washington, Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, and other properties.

Originally, Pence, who is traveling with his wife, sister and mother, was set to conclude his European trip in Doonbeg, where he has familial ties. His schedule changed as a result of Trump canceling his European travel because of Hurricane Dorian.

"Because of some misreporting, we want to clarify that the decision to stay at Trump National in Doonbeg, Ireland was solely a decision by the Office of the Vice President and was based on the requirement to find accommodations near the Vice President's ancestral hometown that could satisfy official meetings on both coasts of the Emerald Isle," the statement said.

"The Vice President's family previously stayed at the same resort in 2013 prior to the Trump Organization's acquisition of the property and the office was aware of its proximity to the ancestral home where his great grandmother lived before migrating to the United States," it continued.

"Our original schedule contemplated one night in Doonbeg after official meetings in Dublin. When Hurricane Dorian required our office to change the schedule on short notice, the decision was made to overnight in Doonbeg for two nights to accommodate official business and public events on both coasts. At no time did the President direct our office to stay at his Doonbeg resort and any reporting to the contrary is false."

On Tuesday, Pence's chief of staff Marc Short said Trump had suggested Pence stay at his Irish golf club on the official trip, "I don't think it was a request, like a command...I think that it was a suggestion."

"It's like when we went through the trip, it's like, well, he's going to Doonbeg because that's where the Pence family is from," Short said before describing the president's suggestion. "It's like, 'Well, you should stay at my place.'"