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Trump's visit on cards for next year as 'open invitation' still stands

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US President Donald Trump with his wife Melania. Photo: AFP/Getty

US President Donald Trump with his wife Melania. Photo: AFP/Getty

US President Donald Trump with his wife Melania. Photo: AFP/Getty

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

A visit by the controversial leader 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 in France on Sunday.

His office wanted the full red-carpet treatment in Dublin before he moved on 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 the president during the St Patrick's Day celebrations in 2017. The invitation was reissued by Leo Varadkar when he travelled to Washington last March.

Historic

Sources confirmed to the Herald "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.

"We are still finalising whether Ireland will be a stop on that trip [to France]," said press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders at the time.

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.

Meanwhile, Mr Trump has weighed in on Florida's mandatory recount in the US mid-term elections, claiming that ballots "are missing or forged".

The president said on Twitter that the elections should be called in favour of the Republican candidates, who were leading, because "an honest vote count is no longer possible".

Florida's senate and governor's races have gone to a recount because the Republicans' advantage fell below the 0.5pc threshold required to trigger mandatory machine recounts.


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