Pint lands president in trouble after fatal twisters
Published 26/05/2011 | 05:00
US President Barack Obama has been accused of being "insensitive" for drinking Guinness in Moneygall while tornadoes were wreaking havoc in the US, leaving more than 100 people dead.
High-profile conservative commentator Laura Ingraham described the pictures of the US president drinking Guinness as "tone deaf" and "insensitive", while right-leaning journalist Eric Bolling said he was disgusted at "Obama chugging (beers) in Ireland" while people were dying in Missouri.
Steve Doocy, an anchorman with Fox News, claimed the widespread praise for the trip showed a "double standard in the media".
Overall, tornadoes have killed at least 500 people in the midwestern US since March.
But according to CBS News, Mr Obama "received multiple updates on the tornado damage throughout the course of his flight to Ireland".
Upon landing in Dublin, Mr Obama directed the Federal Emergency Management Agency to have two counties in Missouri declared official disaster areas.
Comparing the Irish trip to George W Bush's notoriously poor handling of the Hurricane Katrina disaster, Ms Ingraham said: "I think the Irish probably would have understood if the president delayed his trip a day or two."
Perhaps anticipating this criticism, the White House quickly released photos of the president speaking on the phone from Dublin with Missouri governor Jay Nixon.
The president also issued a statement expressing his "deepest condolences" to the families of those who had been killed.
He added that he would travel to the affected areas at the conclusion of his European trip.
Meanwhile, the high-profile visits of Queen Elizabeth and Mr Obama have resulted in a surge in the numbers of US tourists looking to holiday here.
Website hotels.com said yesterday searches by US tourists for accommodation in Cork were up 104pc compared with this time last year, while searches from UK residents for hotel rooms in Kildare were up 191pc.
The biggest surge in interest among US residents is in Kildare, up 111pc. According to the latest hotels.com price index, Ireland now offers the best value hotels in western Europe with the average hotel price here just €79 per night.