President Donald Trump’s first state visit to the United Kingdom, which unfolded this past week, has quickly proved an oversized, uniquely Trump-ian affair. According to government spending records distributed by the Guardian, the Trump administration spent some $1 million of taxpayer money on renting just four limousines from an Irish funeral service. The company originally assembled their fleet for their main operations while maintaining an option for interested non-mourners to rent the vehicles.
In full, according to USASpending.Gov — which is an official project of the federal government itself and not just a conspiratorial third party — the Trump team paid $935,033 in four installments to the funeral firm, which is called JP Ward & Sons. It wasn’t even immediately clear why the president and his team might need the vehicles while in Ireland, where he only stayed for a comparatively brief time including a visit to his golf course near Doonbeg. Eric and Donald Trump Jr. went into the actual town of Doonbeg for a pub crawl, but for at least some of the time, they reportedly paid their own way and it’s unclear whether they might have used the taxpayer-funded limos.
Neither the State Department nor the funeral services company itself provided any immediate information to the Guardian about the uncovered apparent massive expenses.
Originally, President Trump himself had been hoping to have Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar visit with him at his Doonbeg golf course, but the Irish government rebuffed the idea of conducting even an informal interaction between heads of state at a resort owned by the U.S. president. Other world leaders have not proven so averse to the appearance of an endorsement of the president’s business empire, and Trump has had meetings like a sit-down with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at his Florida Mar-a-Lago resort, but in this case, Trump ended up meeting Varadkar at the Shannon Airport. From there, he was set to fly to his Doonbeg golf resort via helicopter — meaning he would have had no use for limos.
The limo costs aren’t the only ones to raise eyebrows during his time overseas this week, which has now concluded. The president’s entourage also spent some $1.2 million on hotel accommodations in London alone. Besides his time in the U.K. and Ireland, Trump also took a trip to France, where he participated in a ceremony marking the 75th anniversary of the Allies’ D-Day invasion during World War II, which marked a turning point in the war.
While overseas, Trump marked his time with some of his familiar rhetoric. While with Ireland’s Varadkar, for example, he suggested that the country was interested in a wall to confront simmering tension between them and the United Kingdom — which includes a segment of Ireland’s island — but Varadkar noted they had expressed no interest in that.
Trump threw similar sticks of attempted metaphorical dynamite at British politics all the same, sharing, for instance, that he thought the country should sue the European Union, which they’re struggling with a planned exit from, although Trump didn’t seem to have an idea of how that would actually work out, which seems to be a theme with him.
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