US presidential hopeful Donald Trump may have received the red carpet treatment from the Government when he was last in Ireland two years ago, but Enda Kenny has firmly whipped away the welcome mat for the Republican presumptive candidate.
In surprise comments in the Dáil yesterday, the Taoiseach openly admitted that the billionaire businessman’s comments — which have dominated debate in the US presidential nomination race — were both “racist and dangerous”.
Furthermore, US voters had an alternative to vote for, noted a candid Mr Kenny.
The remarks are in stark contrast to when an embarrassingly deferential Michael Noonan almost fell over himself to welcome Mr Trump at Shannon airport two years ago. Who can forget Mr Trump stepping from his private Boeing 757 plane onto the red carpet, alongside a harpist, violinist, singer as well as a sheepish finance minister?
Instead, Mr Kenny was forced to respond to concerns in the Dáil yesterday about what may happen if Mr Trump does indeed win the race to the White House in November.
People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett asked whether Ireland would still allow US military pass through Shannon if the Republican candidate does indeed win.
Mr Boyd Barrett warned of the “dangerous” rhetoric being used by Mr Trump, which has seen other world leaders criticise him.
Earlier this month, British prime minister David Cameron called the Republican hopeful’s proposal of a temporary ban on Muslims entering the US “divisive, stupid, and wrong”.
While initially shrugging off questions in the chamber yesterday by saying he could not predict the outcome of the US presidential race, in the end Mr Kenny finally showed his true colours.
“If Trump’s comments are racist and dangerous, which they are, there is an alternative to vote for,” he said.
Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar last night rolled in behind his party leader and firmly stuck the boot in, agreeing that some of Mr Trump’s comments were racist, and also sexist.
“I don’t think there can be any doubt that many of the speeches he has made were racist and showed a very misogynistic attitude to women,” he said.
However, the Taoiseach’s remarks left Republican supporters here puzzled, with a veiled warning that Mr Kenny’s criticisms may also come back to haunt him or even the country.
Tom Plank, chairman of Republicans Abroad Ireland, said: “The Taoiseach’s comments are as much for domestic consumption as Trump’s were. But it might be better to think about how things are phrased, in case he wins.”
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