Saturday 23 March 2019

Mr President, meet the president

President Donald Trump (Timothy D. Easley/AP/PA)
President Donald Trump (Timothy D. Easley/AP/PA)
Brendan O'Connor

Brendan O'Connor

Typical, isn't it? You wait 39 years for one controversial head of state to come and then two of them come along at once. Though Donald will be hoping that he does a better job of "cementing the historic ties between our two great nations" than poor Pope Francis did.

Donald's aides have no doubt already told him that if Katherine Zappone tries to sidle up to him for a word in his ear, he should run a mile. And presumably Leo's aides have already told him that if he tries to tell Trumpy a few home truths at the formal welcome, Donald will not take it in the same spirit of brooding humility that Francis did. It'll be all Lyin' Leo, fake news and enemy of the people.

Of course one of the many unknowns about the Trump visit is that we don't know who exactly will be in charge by the time he gets here. It could be an admirer of Castro and Chavez, who protested practically every US presidential visit to Ireland before he became a president himself. Or equally it could be a black Irishman who seems to share some of Trump's views on immigration. That should confuse The Donald.

He'll be even more confused if he rocks up to be greeted off the plane by a gay man of Indian extraction and a black man from Donegal. (He will no doubt reckon there is fault on both sides.) But then again, Kevin Sharkey would presumably have some red-haired colleens playing the harp at the airport, just like the last time, to assure Trump he is indeed in the right place.

Then again, Trump could be greeted by someone from a business-based reality TV show who somehow became the president against all odds. Now that most of the Dragons are running, there is talk of others from similar shows running. Linda Martin of You're A Star is being very quiet about her intentions. I won't comment on the wild conspiracy theory that all the other former You're A Star judges are going to throw our hats in the ring to be stalking horses for Linda's bid.

Most importantly, Trump's advisers will be watching carefully to see who is going to be in charge of the Labour party by the time the president gets here. Trump has been a great supporter of the one per cent, which is roughly where Labour stands in the opinion polls right now. Brendan Howlin, in a bid to get people to remember who he is, has already been out to say that he and the Labour party will be protesting the Trump visit with "other like-minded people". Brendan should be careful of the kind of like-minded people he finds himself in bed with there. If the pragmatic Alan "Power is a drug" Kelly is leader of the Labour party by then, you suspect he might have a different attitude to Trump.

All we can say for sure is that this is going to be great fun.

Sunday Independent

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