Sunday 20 October 2019

Trump expected to visit Ireland before he launches his bid for a second term

Donald Trump (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Donald Trump (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Had his trip gone ahead as planned, US President Donald Trump would be playing golf in Doonbeg today - but don't rule out that happening in the near future.

A visit by the controversial billionaire is still very much on the cards, although it will be next year at the earliest.

Mr Trump had proposed a stopover in Ireland for two days on his way home from the Armistice commemorations, which he attended in France on Sunday.

His office wanted the full red carpet treatment in Dublin before he would relocate to Co Clare where he owns a five-star hotel and golf links.

The Government privately viewed the arrival as a diplomatic nightmare, but publicly ministers insisted Mr Trump would be welcomed.

Former Taoiseach Enda Kenny first invited Mr Trump during the St Patrick's Day celebrations in 2017. The invitation was reissued by Leo Varadkar when he travelled to Washington last March.

Sources confirmed to the Irish Independent that "an open invitation" still stands and there is an expectation that Mr Trump will visit before his term ends in 2020.

The White House announced in late August that Mr Trump would visit Ireland "to renew the deep and historic ties between our two nations".

However, days later it emerged that the trip was being cancelled - although Mr Trump's office never publicly confirmed this.

At the time, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said: "We are still finalising whether Ireland will be a stop on that trip [to France]."

It was speculated in Irish diplomatic circles that Mr Trump decided not to stop in Ireland amid fears he would still be dealing with the fallout from the mid-term elections.

"Had they known the mid-terms would play out as they did then there's a good chance he'd actually be in Ireland now," said a source.

Instead, Mr Trump was back in the United States after a difficult time in Paris. First he was criticised for missing a World War I commemoration ceremony due to the weather, and during the main event French President Emmanuel Macron launched a thinly veiled attack on his policy of nationalism.

Mr Trump yesterday tweeted about having accomplished much in his meeting with world leaders at the World War I commemorations.

"Never easy bringing up the fact that the US must be treated fairly, which it hasn't, on both military and trade," he said.

He said it was "ridiculously unfair" that the US pays "for large portions of other countries' military protection".

Irish Independent

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