Saturday 16 December 2017

Zappone 'very angry' over election of Trump

Upset: Katherine Zappone. Pic Colin O'Riordan
Upset: Katherine Zappone. Pic Colin O'Riordan
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Children's Minister Katherine Zappone has said she is "very disappointed and angry" that American voters chose Donald Trump as their next president.

Ms Zappone fears that many of the "fundamental freedoms" on which her native USA is built could be undermined by the new administration.

She intends to use her position as a member of Cabinet to raise concerns about many of the policies the president-elect was advocating during the election campaign.

"I acknowledge it was a very bruising campaign," Ms Zappone said.

"I was very disappointed and angry at the choice of president-elect Trump.

"I feel very upset about the choice of the American people.

"At the same time I am a democrat. I have to accept that."

Ms Zappone, who was born in Seattle and studied in Boston College before moving to Ireland with her partner, said the implications of the election will start to become clear when Mr Trump makes appointments to his Supreme Court.

Ms Zappone has long campaigned for Ireland's strict abortion laws to be loosened and now fears that Mr Trump could bring back a ban in the US.

The Republican has said any new judges appointed during his tenure will be "pro-life".

Asked specifically whether he wants the Supreme Court to repeal the landmark Roe versus Wade decision, which legalised abortion nationwide, Mr Trump replied that if the decision were overturned the issue of abortion would be decided by each state.

"If it ever were overturned, it would go back to the states," he said.

Asked to clarify, Mr Trump replied: "Yeah, well, they'll perhaps have to go, they'll have to go to another state."

Ms Zappone said the incoming president's changes "may row back on many of the equalities and fundamental freedoms that as an original citizen of the United States I would say that our country is founded on".

She said it was a "great privilege" for her to be a Cabinet minister in another country "knowing the deep bonds that Ireland shares with America".

But she added: "Regardless of who is in office in Dublin or in Washington I look forward to playing my part in raising our concerns with President Trump in the natural bilateral relations that any government would have."

Ms Zappone's comments will be seen as strong given that ministers have been asked to hold back on criticising the new president.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny was among the first world leaders contacted by Mr Trump after his election last week.

Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan has said: "We need to get on with it."

Irish Independent

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