Monday 19 August 2019

Kevin Doyle: 'Positive spin on visit only cost the president a round of drinks'

‘As parties go, it’s hard to top a state dinner with the queen of England but Trump’s sons managed it’. Picture: Reuters
‘As parties go, it’s hard to top a state dinner with the queen of England but Trump’s sons managed it’. Picture: Reuters
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

By the time Donald Trump boarded Air Force One, hand in hand with Melania, he must have had a very misty-eyed view of Ireland.

The final dispatch from the White House pool reporters as they prepared to take off registered Mr Trump walking "in a light drizzle". They also noted that a tweet "surfaced that seemed to show Potus, dressed in golf attire, with local schoolchildren".

This caused some confusion for the seasoned president-followers because they had not been advised "of any informal or unscheduled events or movements".

Of course, it didn't really come as a surprise to Irish reporters on the ground that an enterprising local schoolteacher managed to find a vantage spot overlooking the ninth hole in Doonbeg and brought her entire school along. That's just Ireland.

Neither did it come as a shock to us that Eric and Donald Jnr would be very popular if they bought everyone in the village a pint. For the sake of a couple of grand, the billionaire's sons had ensured the love of west Clare for the foreseeable future.

And that feel-good factor around the world's most controversial politician was reported faithfully by the 'fake news' media.

In fact, the scenes of celebration in Doonbeg received far more coverage than protests in both Shannon and Dublin.

When Trump arrived, he used the oldest rock star trick going by writing "I love your country" in the visitor book at Shannon Airport. By the time he left 48 hours later, that might actually have been true.

The most read story on the 'Washington Post' website yesterday was one questioning who was paying for the Trump children's hopscotch across Europe.

"As parties go, it's hard to top a state dinner with the queen of England, but President Trump's sons - Donald Jr and Eric - tried to keep the revelry going during an impromptu pub crawl in Doonbeg, Ireland, where they bought rounds of Guinness for the locals and revelled in the adoration of a village where the Trump family owns property," said the article which was pitched as a negative take on the tour.

For Trump's "good friend" Leo Varadkar, it was a decent week too. His aides were very pleased that the president left without throwing any insults in their direction.

"Very few countries would have had two bilateral meetings with the US president in the space of a few months," a source noted.

That ignores the fact Trump clearly forgot everything he had been told about the Irish Border situation during the St Patrick's Day festivities. But the fact Mr Varadkar publicly corrected him on the idea that we want a wall has done his credibility no harm at all.

Proof that whenever Donald Trump is involved, you should expect the unexpected.

Irish Independent

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