President Trump has spent $1 million of taxpayer money on four limousines he may or may not use on his trip to Ireland this week, according to The Guardian. The spending was confirmed by USASpending.gov, a government website that tracks federal spending.
The pricey limos were rented from JP Ward & Sons, a funeral home in south Dublin that seems to moonlight as a rental agency for the rich and famous. In addition to doing funerals, the company rents out Mercedes E-Class limousines.
The company is apparently pretty tight-lipped about their huge windfall.
From The Guardian:
JP Ward & Sons could shed no light on the arrangements. A woman who answered the company’s advertised phone number on Thursday said she knew nothing about leasing vehicles to the US president. She said a colleague would phone back. Repeated further calls and an email went unanswered.
If discretion is part of the company’s business model, it seems to work. When the Guardian visited the company’s advertised address in Bray, a seaside town south of Dublin, it turned out to be a terraced house with an overgrown front garden and no indication that it was a business. Nobody answered the door.
JP Ward & Sons allegedly made over $100,000 chauffeuring Michelle Obama and her daughters for three days in 2013.
“There were 35 cars in the entourage,” George McClafferty, who showed them around Glendalough, told The Guardian.
The president has also caught flack on his European adventure for spending lavishly on hotels. Earlier on the trip, the White House spent $1,223,230 of taxpayer money on rooms at the InterContinental hotel in London. But he seems to be particularly picky about vehicles.
From The Guardian:
Organisers of Trump’s trips were particular about vehicles even before he became president. During his fleeting visit to see his mother’s birthplace in Stornoway, Scotland, in 2008, Trump used the only black Porsche Cayenne four-wheel drive available on the Isle of Lewis, which the Trump Organization had borrowed off a local businessman after days of searching.
Trump insisted on hiring black Range Rovers for his sporadic visits to Aberdeenshire, including his trip to receive an honorary degree from Robert Gordon University in 2010 – an honour rescinded by the university in 2015 after Trump’s insults against Muslims and Mexican migrants.
We know that the federal government spent a total of $935,033 on the four limousines, but it’s still unclear when on the trip Trump thinks he’ll use them. He flew into Shannon airport on Wednesday night, and is scheduled to fly by helicopter to his struggling golf resort in Doonbeg. On Thursday, he’ll fly to Normandy to celebrate the anniversary of D-Day before flying back to Doonbeg to play golf. He’ll return to Washington, D.C. on Friday.
When in this packed schedule will Trump and his entourage have time to drive around Ireland in limos? We don’t know! But one suspected use for the pricey cars would be a visit the village of Doonbeg, an eight-mile distance from the Trump golf resort. That would work out to a cost of about $116,879 per mile for the four rented vehicles, not including the price of the entourage that would most likely accompany the president.
The people who live in Doonbeg are strangely excited about Trump’s potential visit. The village loves the president for his contribution to their local economy through the golf course.
“He’s the biggest employer in west Clare,” Martin Kelly, who owns a local trucking company, told The Guardian. “He has done a brilliant job. He’s keeping west Clare going. Doonbeg would be a different place if he wasn’t here.”
The state department didn’t return The Guardian’s request for comment.