Former White House ethics lawyer under George W. Bush, Richard Painter, tore into Donald Trump on Tuesday for making Vice President Mike Pence stay at his struggling hotel in Ireland during his trip to the country.
“It’s outrageous, and indeed I think it’s illegal,” Painter said during an interview with MSNBC’s Ari Melber.
He added, “Our money is being used to promote his hotel. This is a violation of the Domestic Emoluments Clause, which caps the president’s compensation for his services at his compensation set by Congress.”
“This is illegal as well as immoral and illogical,” Painter said.
— PoliticusUSA (@politicususa) September 3, 2019
It’s outrageous, and indeed I think it’s illegal. I think the whole thing is illegal. Let’s start with the vice president’s stay. The United States taxpayer is paying for that. The federal government is going to make a big outlay in order to promote the Trump hotel. Trump will make money when Secret Service agents stay there. Also, the promotion value. Our money is being used to promote his hotel. This is a violation of the Domestic Emoluments Clause, which caps the president’s compensation for his services at his compensation set by Congress. He is not entitled to milk the taxpayer right, left, and center. And that’s what he’s doing here. This is illegal as well as immoral and illogical.
Pence’s official meetings are on the opposite side of Ireland
It would be easier to make the argument in favor of Pence staying at the president’s Ireland resort if the meetings were in the same general region of the country – but they’re not even close.
As CNN pointed out Tuesday, Pence’s official meetings take place in Dublin, which is 181 miles and a 40-minute flight away. Pence is going to have to fly back and forth to and from his meetings, only racking up a higher taxpayer bill while he’s driving up the profits for his boss’s hotel.
As Jason Easley noted earlier, “The primary and only mission of the Trump presidency is profiteering.”
This is clear with Trump’s latest scheme to have his VP boost his profits in Ireland, but it was also obvious in recent weeks as the president pitched his struggling Florida resort for the next G7 summit.
It’s unlikely to be the last time Donald Trump uses taxpayer dollars to boost his own business interests. His presidency, after all, is one never-ending grift.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.