Junior Jobs Minister John Halligan has launched an all-out attack on US president-elect Donald Trump, calling him a brute, a misogynist and a headbanger and is urging Irish people to oppose him.
Mr Halligan said he would refuse to deal with the incoming US president if he ever visits Ireland and Irish citizens should protest if he comes here.
Speaking to the Irish Examiner, Mr Halligan criticised Fine Gael figures and others who have toned down criticism of Mr Trump since his shock victory.
But the Waterford TD’s candid remarks may cause trouble for the Government amid its efforts to settle relations with the new US administration and lobby against tax reform which might impact multinationals based here.
Mr Trump’s win was “appalling”, according to Mr Halligan, adding he would refuse to meet him if he visits here or the Dáil.
“He is a misogynist, a brute, a racist, his attitude towards women is terrible. Even though he is the leader of the Western world, I would have feck all to do with him.
“I understand Enda Kenny dealing or meeting with him, but I would refuse to deal with him if he stood in front of me. I’d have nothing to do with him.”
Mr Halligan, who oversees training and skills, would also likely deal with US authorities as a minister.
The minister criticised Mr Trump during the US election campaign, calling him “an asshole”. He stood over his previous comments.
But Mr Kenny and others have softened criticisms since his win. Mr Kenny previously agreed some of Mr Trump’s comments were “racist and dangerous”, but said after the election these were made in the “heat of the battle”.
Nonetheless, Mr Halligan believes his colleagues are wrong to row back on their criticisms.
“It’s not right. If you think something of somebody you should [continue to think that], unless you’re proven wrong. He has made comments about the disabled, Mexicans — called them rapists — and about women.
“He is a complete headbanger. We should stand the ground for people he has insulted.”
Asked how Ireland might then bolster ties with the US going forward, Mr Halligan said the Government and businesses — instead of relying on Mr Trump — should reach out to American contacts.
“We should contact our base in America, senators in both parties who support Ireland, as a matter of urgency. Chambers of commerce too. Impress upon them contributions made by the Irish there.”
The Independent Alliance TD thinks people should peacefully protest if Mr Trump ever visits Ireland.
“We should do everything we can and show our distaste to what he says about society.”
Mr Trump, during his campaign, faced criticism for mocking a disabled reporter, calling Mexicans rapists, and for sexist remarks.
He was recorded boasting about being able to grope women because of his fame. He is also accused of sexually assaulting several women.
His appointment of Steve Bannon — from a US newsgroup embraced by white supremacists — as his strategist has also attracted criticism.
Mr Halligan said there was concern about the rise of the right in general, including across Europe.
“There’s groups advocating support for Hitler. Would we let them come to Ireland without criticising them? No way.”
The minister’s blunt comments though may not help Mr Kenny, departments or diplomats reaching out to Washington. His criticism comes as the Taoiseach flies to the US this month on a trade mission.
Finance Minister Michael Noonan visited the US last week while Aid Minister Joe McHugh visited Boston yesterday.
Meanwhile, Labour leader Brendan Howlin has said Mr Trump’s campaign comments were “highly dangerous and racist”.
In an interview in today’s Irish Examiner, he says Trump’s election means we are facing “an appalling vista”.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved