The traveling clown show that is Vice President Mike Pence’s official state trip to Ireland continued its pathetic lumber toward parody on Wednesday, as Pence’s office attempted to clean up its own mess after admitting President Donald Trump encouraged the Veep to stay at Trump’s Doonbeg golf resort, more than 100 miles away from his scheduled meetings in Dublin.
Blaming “misreporting” and claiming the decision to stay at Doonbeg was based solely on Pence’s desire to “find accommodations near the Vice President’s ancestral homeland,” Pence’s office walked back a statement from Chief of Staff Marc Short, who had stressed on Tuesday that Trump had firmly suggested (but didn’t “command”) Pence stay at his private club.
For what it’s worth, Secret Service veterans are reportedly not thrilled that the president keeps insisting his personal property is easier to secure.
In any case, this latest statement from Pence’s office does not explicitly contradict Short’s earlier assertion; as the president’s former confidant Michael Cohen said during his congressional testimony this past spring, Trump typically doesn’t “direct” anyone to do anything, relying instead on suggestion, insinuation, and inference to make his desires known.
Still, the fact that the White House felt the need to address Pence’s unusual Ireland accommodations should be a pretty clear sign that somewhere in the West Wing, someone is worried that this all looks like one of the the most high-profile cases of Trump’s presidential grifting to date—which it is.