Thursday 5 December 2019

Varadkar: Trump's comments on Orlando 'crass and tasteless'

Donald Trump (AP)
Donald Trump (AP)

Industry Correspondent

MINISTER for Social Protection Leo Varadkar has described Donald Trump’s comments on the Orlando massacre as “crass” and “tasteless” but said politicians still have to meet him later this month.

Mr Varadkar paid sympathy to the families of 49 people who were killed as well as the injured in the shooting in a gay nightclub early on Sunday morning.

“Obviously I watched all the coverage of the events in Orlando yesterday and my thoughts and prayers are of course with the people who’ve lost their lives or been injured and their families and friends and we stand in solidarity with America at this very difficult time,” he said.

However, he gave a hard-hitting assessment of the presumptive Republican election nominee’s Twitter comments.

Mr Trump tweeted that he appreciated the “congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism”, following the horrific incident.

“In relation to Mr Trump's contribution, I thought it was pretty crass and I thought it was pretty tasteless and it’s unfortunate to see anyone from any political perspective trying to exploit really, an event like this,” said Mr Varadkar.

“To make out somehow that they got it right all along. It’s very disappointing to see that and I’m glad we don’t quite have that kind of politics in Ireland.”

He said he had not received an invitation to meet Mr Trump during his visit so did not have to make a decision about it, but politicians had no choice but to meet such individuals.

“It’s up to others from that point of view,” he said.

“One thing I would say is that the realpolitik of these things if somebody is the elected leader of another country, it’s the norm that politicians will meet them and there are lots of leaders elected and non-elected from countries all over the world that have done much worse than Donald Trump has ever said,” he said.

“We do meet them because we have to, because that’s the way we make sure we protect the interest of our citizens.”

He said politicians were regularly meeting Egyptian politicians over the Ibrahim Halawa case and were “not refusing to meet them on that basis”.

Dubliner Ibrahim Halawa is in an Egyptian jail for nearly three years after being arrested during a political protest while on holiday in Cairo.

“In order to get things done, we have to meet them,” he said.

 Mr Varadkar was speaking following a meeting with the Labour Market Council this morning.

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