As outlined in a new report from the government watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), ex-Vice President Mike Pence has been caught having cost taxpayers over $750,000 for a ski trip that he took to Colorado last December, when he was still in office and as the COVID-19 pandemic raged. Secret Service costs associated with Pence’s trip hit $757,527.85, according to CREW, which obtained records of the expenses, and these costs include hotel stays and car rentals.
The trip, which stretched from December 23 to January 1, involved at least 48 Secret Service agents, who rented 77 cars while on the trip. Other charges included $270,000 spent at the Marriott Vail Mountain and over $80,000 spent at the local Ritz Carlton. All of these expenses unfolded as Pence served as “the head of the White House coronavirus task force, which put out dire warnings after Thanksgiving as the CDC recommended that Americans stay home over the holidays in order to limit the spread of the virus,” CREW pointedly notes.
Notably, this instance isn’t the first time that Pence’s travel has culminated in huge costs for taxpayers. In 2019, the then-vice president visited Ireland, where he had business in Dublin — but while in the country, he stayed at a Trump-branded resort in Doonbeg, which is on the other side of the island nation. Travel costs associated with the trip — including the expenses that were required to ferry Pence from Doonbeg to Dublin — reached over half a million dollars, and the then-VP’s stay at Trump’s resort provided it a government-backed publicity boost.
While in office as president, Trump never financially disconnected himself from his businesses, meaning that at any point, political interests seeking to garner favor with the commander-in-chief could stay at one of his properties and directly financially support him.
Trump also personally visited his properties on repeated occasions throughout his time in the office, incurring huge federal costs for his travel — and some of this taxpayer money went into his own business. As of last October, shortly before his election defeat, The Washington Post reported that at least $2.5 million in taxpayer money had gone right into Trump’s business through means including bills to the federal government for using the properties while providing Secret Service protection to the then-president, which constitutes a staggering level of self-dealing.