Washington (AFP) - US President Donald Trump denied Wednesday that he suggested his deputy Mike Pence stay at a Trump property in Ireland, as administration figures appeared to offer contradictory accounts of the vice-president's choice of accommodation.
Pence stayed at the Trump International Golf Links & hotel on the west coast, despite his business with government officials taking place in Dublin -- a four-hour round trip away on the opposite side of the country.
Asked if Trump had asked Pence to stay there, the vice president's chief of staff Marc Short said it had been a "suggestion."
Pence's team has since issued a statement saying the decision to stay at the Trump hotel was made independently of the president.
"I had no involvement, other than it's a great place," Trump said Wednesday when asked for the first time about the controversy.
"It wasn't my idea for Mike to go there. Mike went there because his family's there... We never spoke about it," the president added.
When asked if he had suggested that Pence pick the golf club, Trump responded he doesn't suggest "anything."
"I have a lot of hotels all over the place and people use them because they're the best," he said.
The use of Trump's various properties around the world by the president, his entourage, and officials of other governments has been the subject of recurrent criticism.
Much of it revolves around a clause in the US Constitution that prohibits US officials from receiving "emoluments," or payments, from foreign governments.
Trump recently said he envisions the next Group of Seven summit, scheduled for next year in the United States, being held at his Doral golf resort near Miami.
"We haven't found anything that could even come close to competing with it," he told reporters on the sidelines of last month's G7 summit in Biarritz, France.
Those comments prompted Democrats to threaten a congressional investigation.