US President Donald Trump has said he had nothing to do with Vice President Mike Pence staying at his resort in Ireland or with attorney general William Barr booking a ballroom at his Washington hotel for a party.
“People like my product,” Mr Trump said. “What can I tell you? I can’t help it.”
Democrats and good-government watchdogs say such moves enrich Mr Trump at taxpayer expense. Congressional Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office released a statement on Wednesday night calling Trump properties “a cesspool of corruption, a black hole for taxpayers’ money, an exploiter of immigrant labour and a national security threat.”
The vice president stayed at the Trump International Golf Links and Hotel in Doonbeg, Co Clare when he visited Ireland this week.
Marc Short, Mr Pence’s chief of staff, told reporters on Tuesday that the decision to stay at the Trump property was made at the president’s “suggestion.”
A spokesman for the vice president later said that staying at the Trump hotel was based solely on a decision by the vice president’s office and the requirement of finding accommodations near Mr Pence’s ancestral hometown that could satisfy official meetings on both coasts of Ireland.
The vice president’s family stayed at the same resort in 2013 prior to the Trump Organisation’s acquisition of the property. The statement emphasised that Mr Trump did not direct the vice president’s office to stay at the resort.
Mr Trump, for his part, told reporters that he never spoke to Mr Pence about staying at the property.
“I don’t suggest anything,” he said.
Nor, Mr Trump said, did he make a recommendation for Mr Barr to book a ballroom in Mr Trump’s hotel for his annual party.
“I have a lot of hotels all over the place and people use them because they’re the best,” Mr Trump said. “I mean, they’re the best.”
Mr Trump’s hotel near the White House has been a magnet for lobbyists and foreign interests in recent years.