Why is Vice President Mike Pence spending the two nights of his Ireland visit at President Trump's luxury golf resort in Doonbeg when his official business is in Dublin, 180 miles and a plane ride away? It was Trump's idea, Pence's chief of staff, Marc Short, told reporters on Tuesday. "I don't think it was a request, like a command, Bob," Short told The Washington Post's Robert Costa, according to Costa's pool report. "I think that it was a suggestion."
When a reporter asked what that means, Short continued: "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. It's like, 'Well, you should stay at my place.'" The Pence family isn't very directly "from" Doonbeg — his Irish-American grandmother had familial ties there — but Short also explained that since Trump stayed at the resort just a few months ago, the Secret Service is familiar with "the realities" and "the logistics around that facility." Still, Trump did suggest staying at his resort, right? "It wasn't like a, 'You must.' It wasn't like, 'You have to,'" Short said.
Some of Pence's staffers — and the press — are staying at the Radisson Blu hotel in Limerick, which is closer to the airport, Politico notes. But U.S. taxpayers are footing the bill for Pence's higher-end accommodations, Short said.
Short told reporters that taxpayers are paying for Pence’s stay at the Trump resort but he didn’t have an estimate of the cost
On Thursday, President Trump broadly threatened to run primary challengers against members of the House Freedom Caucus after the ultra-conservative faction put the breaks on the GOP health-care bill last week, claiming it was too similar to ObamaCare. But Trump has apparently threatened specific individuals too, according to Rep. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.).
Sanford told The Post and Courier that Trump sent Sanford's friend, White House budget chief Mick Mulvaney, to deliver the message: "The president asked me to look you square in the eyes and to say that he hoped that you voted 'no' on this bill so he could run [a primary challenger] against you in 2018," Sanford claimed Mulvaney told him. Mulvaney had allegedly not wanted to deliver the message but Trump insisted.
"I mentioned this to a couple of colleagues and they said it sounds very Godfather-ish," Sanford noted. "Their point was that this approach might work in New Jersey, but it probably doesn't work so well in South Carolina." Sanford quoted the South Carolina Republican Creed in response to Trump's threat: "I will never cower before any master, save by God."
Sanford has long been a vocal critic of Trump, slamming him on everything from his refusal to release his tax returns to his baseless allegations of widespread voter fraud. But while Sanford claims he has "nothing" against the president, he added: "I've never had anyone, over my time in politics, put [the threat of a primary challenge] to me as directly as that."
The Post and Courier suggested Sanford might "perhaps [be] understating just how monumental it is for a sitting president to openly go after members of his own party." Jeva Lange