By Reed RichardsonSep 3rd, 2019, 7:40 pm
Former Bush White House ethics chief Richard Painter strongly condemned Vice President Mike Pence’s decision to stay at President Donald Trump’s Doonbeg golf resort in Ireland: ” This is illegal as well as immoral and illogical.”
Pence has drawn widespread criticism for basing himself at his boss’s resort, which is located on the west coast of Ireland and nearly three hours away from his official meetings in Dublin. Because of his remote location, the vice president will have to commute by Air Force Two to the capital each morning for his several days of meetings with Irish officials.
“This is not normal. The arguments that Mr. Pence is making don’t pass any kind of test, as we just showed,” noted MSNBC host Ari Melber. How does this compare to anything you saw in your tenure in government and what should be done about it?”
“It’s outrageous! And I think it’s illegal. I think the whole thing is illegal,” Painter said angrily. And even though Pence has now said he would personally pay for his family’s costs at Doonbeg, Painter dismissed that token effort as immaterial in the big picture.
“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,” Painter explained. “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 compensations 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.”
Melber then played a clip from the early days of the Trump presidency where Trump promised to divest his control of his personal businesses to his sons—even though he also argued that it would be legal if he simultaneously ran both his real estate empire and the country.
“That’s exactly what he’s doing. He’s running the Trump Organization,” Painter argued. “He’s trying to make the Trump Organization richer and he’s using his official position as President of the United States to do that. And he is enriching himself in violation of the Constitution, which restricts his compensation. He has no right to do that with our money.”
Watch the video above, via MSNBC.
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