September 05, 2019

Mike Pence accused of humiliating hosts in Ireland
The vice-president’s comments on Brexit while visiting Ireland and his stay at his boss’s golf course did not go down wellVice-President Mike Pence arrives in Doonbeg to dine with relatives at a seafood restaurant. Photograph: Jacob King/PAMissteps during Mike Pence’s visit to Ireland that included controversial praise of the British prime minister, Boris Johnson, have led to accusations of betrayal and “humiliation”.One Irish Times columnist concluded that the vice-president, a “much-anticipated visitor”, turned out to have “shat on the … carpet”.Pence’s problems started with his decision to stay for two nights at Donald Trump’s golf resort in Doonbeg, County Clare, more than 140 miles from Dublin, necessitating costly and logistically complex travel. The move quickly drew fire from ethics experts and political rivals.The House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, called Trump’s properties a “cesspool of corruption” and accused the president of “prioritizing his profits over the interests of the American people”.“Pence is just the latest Republican elected official to enable President Trump’s violations of the constitution,” she said.A spokesman for the vice-president said the decision was partly based on the president’s suggestion Pence stay there, and partly on secret service concerns about costs and logistics. Questioned about the decision on Wednesday, Trump claimed he had “no involvement, other than it’s a great place”.But that was only the start of the controversy.The Irish Times columnist Miriam Lord responded to a tense meeting between the vice-president and the taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, in which Pence urged the republic to protect the “United Kingdom’s sovereignty”. That Varadkar is gay and Pence a past champion of anti-LGBTQ legislation in Indiana also caused widespread comment.Pence laid on platitudes about being “deeply humbled” and “honoured” to be visiting Doonbeg, the home of his mother’s grandmother. But in Dublin he offered his hosts a clear lesson in his administration’s political priorities.“Let me be clear: the US supports the UK decision to leave the EU in Brexit,” Pence told Varadkar in a prepared statement. “But we also recognise the unique challenges on your northern border. And I can assure you we will continue to encourage the United Kingdom and Ireland to ensure that any Brexit respects the Good Friday agreement.”Among media responses, Irish Central asked: “Did VP Pence betray Ireland in his Brexit comments during Irish trip?”The Irish Examiner accused Pence of trying to “humiliate” the republic.But Lord struck the most telling blow.She described the impact of the Pence visit on Ireland as “like pulling out all the stops for a much-anticipated visitor to your home and thinking it has been a great success until somebody discovers he shat on the new carpet in the spare room, the one you bought specially for him”.“As Pence read from the autocue and Irish eyes definitely stopped smiling,” she added, “it was clear he was channeling His Master’s Voice. Trump is a fan of Brexit and of Boris.”“Pence,” Lord continued, “is Irish American and wastes no opportunity to go misty-eyed about his love for the ‘Old Country’ as he lards on his Mother Machree schtick on both sides of the Atlantic.”Lord wasn’t alone in her criticism. The Cork Examiner’s political editor, Daniel McConnell, wrote: “The cheek of him coming here, eating our food, clogging up our roads and then having the nerve to humiliate his hosts.”• The headline on this article was amended on 6 September 2019 in line with Guardian style guidance.
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