Watchdog Report Revealed Mike Pence Skiing Trip Cost Taxpayers A Staggering $757,000 At The Height Of The Pandemic


605 points

With the former administration, the U.S. didn’t have leaders at the helm amid the raging pandemic that has now taken over 572,000 American lives. We had a super-spreader president that failed to address the pandemic. Instead, he mocked social distancing guidelines and was only seen wearing a facial mask on a few occasions. And then there’s former vice-president Mike Pence that was supposed to lead Operation Warp Speed while he flouted COVID-19 guidelines like when he hit the slopes in Vail last year for a Colorado family ski vacation while Americans were sheltering at home to flatten the coronavirus curve.

Pence’s controversial skiing holiday in Colorado amid the coronavirus pandemic broke federal guidelines and cost taxpayers at least $757,000, a watchdog group reported. According to Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (Crew), Pence and his family traveled with at least 48 agents who rented 77 cars during the trip.

“While coronavirus cases surged to record levels late last December, Vice President Mike Pence went on a ski vacation in Vail, Colorado,” the report states. “The trip came with a massive bill to taxpayers, with Secret Service protection alone costing $757,527.85, according to documents obtained by CREW.”

“At the time of his holiday travel, Pence was 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 reports. “Clearly, Pence did not follow the government’s advice, and in the process put dozens of Secret Service agents at heightened risk of infection.”

“Pence’s trip extended from December 23rd to January 1st, and reportedly included a Secret Service entourage of at least 48 agents, contributing to both the high cost and the risk of infection,” the report continues. “The agents stayed at several different hotels in the Vail area and rented 77 cars for the trip. The charges included more than $270,000 at the Marriott Vail Mountain and more than $80,000 at the Ritz Carlton.”

“Unfortunately, Pence’s unnecessary pandemic travel wasn’t a first for the Trump administration. Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump did something similar and traveled to Trump’s Bedminster club during the April 2020 stay-at-home orders,” CREW reports. “The Washington Post recently reported that career Secret Service staff suggested an inspector general investigation into the spread of coronavirus within the agency. The idea was rejected by the Trump-appointed IG, who also blocked other investigations that could have reflected badly on the Trump administration.”

“This also is not the first time Mike Pence stuck taxpayers with huge bills for his travel. Back in 2019, he traveled to Ireland for government business in Dublin, but stayed overnight at Donald Trump’s resort on the other side of the country in Doonbeg,” the report adds. “Travel costs for that were more than half a million dollars and also resulted in the Secret Service spending more than $15,000 at Trump’s resort.”

Unfortunately, none of this seemed to bother Republicans at the time. I don’t ever want to hear a Republican talk about our country’s debt and spending again. Trump and his administration spent money like drunken sailors — and it was our money.

You can read the full report here.

Featured image via Gage Skidmore/Flickr, under Creative Commons license 2.0

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605 points