Monday 11 December 2017

Donald Trump announces visit to Ireland - just days after Taoiseach's damning criticism

Donald Trump, inset Enda Kenny
Donald Trump, inset Enda Kenny Newsdesk Newsdesk

Businessman Donald Trump, the presumptive US Republican presidential nominee, is to visit Ireland.

The billionaire announced his trip as part of a whistle-stop tour of his golf resorts later in the month, which will take place after he has been to Scotland.

Mr Trump owns the renowned golf links at Doonbeg in Co Clare, on the west coast of Ireland, and is battling to get planning permission for a huge wall to act as a sea defence.

The New York tycoon told his 8.6 million followers on Twitter on Thursday night that his trip starts on June 22 and he will be calling at Turnberry and Aberdeen, followed by Ireland.

The visit will coincide with US Vice President Joe Biden's trip to Ireland and the result of the Brexit referendum.

Mr Trump had already confirmed that he would be visiting his business interests in Scotland.

The announcement comes just days after Enda Kenny ditched diplomatic protocol to brand the Republican candidate's comments as "racist and dangerous".

The Taoiseach initally tried to resist making any direct criticism of Mr Trump. Under further pressure, he then added: "If Trump's comments are racist and dangerous, which they are, there is an alternative to vote for."

US presidential candidate Donald Trump. Photo: Reuters
US presidential candidate Donald Trump. Photo: Reuters

Mr Varadkar said: "I think any reasonable person would agree that some of the comments he has made are racist, particularly in relation to Latinos, and also many of the things he has said are sex

In a series of tweets, Trump said: "After @TrumpTurnberry I will be visiting Aberdeen, the oil capital of Europe, to see my great club, @TrumpScotland.

"After @TrumpScotland, I will visit @TrumpDoonbeg in Ireland, the magnificent resort fronting on the Atlantic Ocean.

"Then, on June 25th - back to the USA to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!"

The red carpet was rolled out for Mr Trump when he visited Ireland after buying Doonbeg in 2014.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan also greeted him off the plane.

But it is not clear what reception will be laid on for him in government circles this time after Taoiseach Enda Kenny made a damning criticism of his attitudes to immigration.

Furthermore, House of Representatives speaker Paul Ryan has endorsed Donald Trump's bid to be US president, bringing an end to the extraordinary public split between the presumptive White House nominee and the country's top Republican in office.

"I had friends wishing I wouldn't support him. I had friends wishing I would," Mr Ryan said.

"I really didn't feel any pressure, other than my goal is to make sure that were unified so that we're at full strength in the fall so we can win the election."

Mr Ryan's announcement, in a newspaper column published in his Wisconsin home town, marks a significant step for a party trying to come together ahead of a general election match-up against likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

And Mr Ryan made clear he had Mrs Clinton on his mind when he decided to join the ranks of Republicans who have slowly come around to backing Mr Trump, the brash billionaire few expected to emerge as the party's nominee when the campaign began in earnest last year.

"This to me is about saving the country and preventing a third progressive, liberal term, which is what a Clinton presidency would do," Mr Ryan said.

Mr Trump celebrated the endorsement on his favourite venue, Twitter.

"So great to have the endorsement and support of Paul Ryan," he wrote. "We will both be working very hard to Make America Great Again!"

Press Association

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