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President says he had no role in Pence lodging at Trump Ireland resort

U.S Vice President Mike Pence, his wife Karen Pence and his mother Nancy Pence Fritsch, right, arrive in Doonbeg, Ireland on Sept. 3, 2019. (Jacob King/PA via AP)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump said Wednesday 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 holiday party.

“People like my product,” Trump said. “What can I tell you? I can’t help it.”

Democrats and good-government groups say such moves enrich Trump at taxpayer expense. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office released a statement Wednesday night calling Trump properties “a cesspool of corruption, a black hole for taxpayers’ money, an exploiter of immigrant labor and a national security threat.”

The vice president stayed at the Trump International Golf Links & Hotel in Doonbeg when he visited Ireland this week.

Marc Short, Pence’s chief of staff, told reporters 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 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 Organization’s acquisition of the property. The statement emphasized that Trump never directed the vice president’s office to stay at the resort.

Trump, for his part, told reporters that he never spoke to Pence about staying at the property.

“I don’t suggest anything,” he said.

Nor, Trump said, did he make a recommendation for Barr to book a ballroom in Trump’s hotel for his annual holiday party.

“I have a lot of hotels all over the place and people use them because they’re the best,” Trump said. “I mean, they’re the best.”

Trump’s hotel near the White House has been a magnet for lobbyists and foreign interests in recent years.