Sunday 18 August 2019

Ian O'Doherty: 'We should all want a Trump visit - we could do with the laugh'

Grudging invite: Donald Trump could yet take up Leo Varadkar on his promise
Grudging invite: Donald Trump could yet take up Leo Varadkar on his promise
Ian O'Doherty

Ian O'Doherty

Oh dear.

Sensitive types may have thought this country dodged a bullet a few months ago when the proposed visit by Donald Trump failed to materialise.

Some protesters said that he was too scared to pop in for a cup of tea and a chat. It's hard to know if that claim has any basis in reality but it seems rather unlikely - after all, he won't even listen to his own advisers, so it's hard to imagine him being scared off by some Irish hippies.

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But it looks like the visit may be back on, with the news that he could make a flying visit to his golf resort in Doonbeg next month.

That, of course, would be classic Trump - never a man to miss a trick when it comes to promoting his own interests, the sight of him waddling down his own golf course as he cheats on his score would be undeniably tawdry. But it would also be undeniably good business for the area and, indeed, the country.

It would also be in a personal capacity, rather than an official State visit, so he could dodge any accusations of besmirching the office of the president by doing a photo-op for a business he owns.

He's due to visit the UK for a proper State visit from June 3-5, and as you might have expected, people are already losing their marbles about it.

It now looks like he won't make any address to the House of Horrors, sorry, House of Commons, because the speaker John Bercow has said he would refuse to grant permission for any speeches. Bercow, a man who craves publicity in much the same way that an alcoholic craves drink, has been having the time of his life as he became centre stage during the farcical Brexit debates, has insisted that even if the queen made a formal request, as per protocol, he would be of a mind to say no.

Gone are the days when she could have stuck him in the Tower of London for such impertinence before lopping off his head.

There has been an open invitation to Trump to visit this country since 2017, when it was issued by then Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

That offer was repeated again by Leo Varadkar, albeit with the half-hearted enthusiasm many of us feel when giving our address to people we met on holiday - sure you can come by and visit... but don't worry if you can't.

With the news that US secret service agents are visiting Clare to do an advance scout of the area, it looks as if that grudging invite may well be taken up.

As you can imagine, this has given the Irish Left that feeling they love the most - righteous indignation and a chance to display their moral superiority over the rest of us.

But the one thing that the media, academics, politicians and activists still haven't figured out is that most people just don't care about Trump as much as they do.

Yes, he's a braggart and an eejit. Yes, he comes out with jaw droppingly daft and occasionally offensive statements. A truly odd man he is, Hitler he is not.

I recently spoke to some Americans who visited this country as a result of the savings they made from his tax cuts. Interestingly, none of them had voted for him the last time but they were more inclined to give him their ballot the next time for the simple reason that they have a bit more money in their account. Ultimately, that's what it all boils down to - people vote for a politician who can make life that bit easier for them, not because they want moral inspiration.

Among the groups planning to protest are the Irish Anti-War Movement who, you might have thought, would have quite liked Trump's much vaunted isolationism.

After all, Hillary Clinton was essentially a warmonger. Let's not forget that we can thank her for the migrant crisis in Europe, which was a direct result of her decision to destroy Libya, which quickly became the world's largest migrant clearing station.

But it's interesting to see so many people say that he should never be allowed to darken our doors, under any circumstances, simply because they don't like him. Therefore, goes their thinking, the wishes of everyone else must be subordinate to their whims.

It's a remarkably undemocratic approach which shows the latent totalitarianism at the heart of many Irish left-wingers who sincerely believe that their ideas are the only ones which should be listened to.

Whether people like it or not, Trump is the American president and he could do this country a lot of good if we played him right.

It's often forgotten that he increased our visa numbers at a time when he was cutting down on so many other countries, and the harsh reality is that this country would cease to function in the morning if we cut all ties with American businesses.

But I doubt they really want him to stay away. After all, what self respecting protester would turn down the opportunity to hurl abuse at Trump?

In protest terms, this would be their Everest.

So people should look forward to his visit - after all, given the mess the country is in at the moment, we could all do with a bit of light relief.

We also need to look at the long game - if the Democrats can't get their act together, Trump will walk the next election.

Do we really want this notoriously thin-skinned man in office for another four years while holding a grudge against us?

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