On Tuesday, reports revealed that Vice President Mike Pence plans to stay at President Donald Trump’s property in Doonbeg, at personal expense, during his state visit to the Republic of Ireland.
The booking, which was reportedly done at the “suggestion” of the president, follows news last week that Attorney General William Barr forked over $30,000 to book a 200-guest holiday party at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C.
Since both Pence and Barr are paying out of pocket, these expenses do not involve taxpayer funds. But as he wrote on Twitter, former federal prosecutor Elie Hoenig sees something a lot more sinister in these transactions than just self-enrichment. He sees it as Pence and Barr “paying tribute” to their boss, much as Mafiosi would pay tribute to the head of the family:
In the mafia there’s a concept known as “kicking up” or “paying tribute” to the Boss – lining the Boss’s pockets to keep him happy. The Boss doesn’t have to explicitly ask; it’s understood.
— Elie Honig (@eliehonig) September 3, 2019
Numerous comparisons have been made over the years between the Trump presidency and an organized crime family — comparisons that are made all the more easy by the fact that the president had ties to the mob during his career in the private sector.