The latest visit of the United States president Donald Trump to the United Kingdom swathe White House renting a fleet of Mercedes E-Class limousines form JP Ward & Sons which is an Irish funeral services home, according ot a report published in The Guardian newspaper.
The rent for the vehicles for the two day visit of Trump to Ireland amounts to almost to $1 million.
According to USASpending.gov, an official portal that records federal government spending, the family-owned firm based in Bray, County Wicklow, was paid $935,033 in four tranches by the Trump administration. For a fleet of four vehicles that comes out at $233,748 per vehicle.
There were no comments from the US state department to the report.
Critics are also examining the hotel bills of the presidential entourage. $1,223,230 on VIP accommodation at the InterContinental hotel on Park Lane in Mayfair, London, – all of which are US taxpayers’ money, have been spent by the White House, showed US State Department documents according to the Guardian report.
Trump is scheduled to meet the Irish taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, and then fly by helicopter to his golf resort in Doonbeg, which overlooks the Atlantic after completing his state visit to Britain.
The exact reason of why the limousines were hired is still not clear. There was apparently no need for cars because Trump, his wife, Melania, and other senior members of the entourage were mostly schedule dot travel by helicopter.
If they visit the village of Doonbeg, as locals fervently hope, it will be an eight-mile round trip at a combined cost of $116,879 per mile, excluding the additional bill for the rest of the entourage, possibly in dozens of vehicles.
No information on the arrangement could be provided by JP Ward & Sons, said the Guardian report. She knew nothing about leasing vehicles to the US president, a woman who answered the company’s advertised phone number reportedly told the Guardian.
$114,000 was earned by JP Ward & Sons in June 2013 for renting out its vehicles for ferrying Michelle Obama and her daughters Sasha and Malia around Dublin and Wicklow for a period of three days. Barack Obama was in Northern Ireland then to attend a G8 summit. George McClafferty, who guided them around Glendalough, told The Guardian that the US first lady rode in one car and her daughters in another. “There were 35 cars in the entourage,” he said.
The company has made heavy investments in state-of-the-art hearses and luxurious limousines, says the website of the Irish funeral company. “Your comfort and safety are our number one priority. All our vehicles are driven by professional, discreet and fully uniformed drivers,” reads its website.
Specific attention was paid to vehicles for Trump during his visits even when he was not the US president. Trump used the only black Porsche Cayenne four-wheel drive available on the Isle of Lewis while he was making a fleeting fleeting visit to see his mother’s birthplace in Stornoway, Scotland, in 2008.
(Adapted from TheGuardian.com)