Donald Trump arriving at Shannon Airport in May, 2014. A return trip to Doonbeg would likely be off the president elect’s travel plans for the foreseeable future. Photo by Sean Curtin.
By Ray O’Hanlon
Taoiseach Enda Kenny was today poring balm on potentially troubled waters after Donald Trump’s surprise presidential election win.
Mr. Kenny also made a pitch for comprehensive immigration reform, this despite the fact that Mr. Trump, during the campaign, proposed ideas that were the very opposite.
Back in May, Mr. Kenny, in response to questions, described comments made by Mr. Trump at the time as being “racist and dangerous.”
Sign up to The Irish Echo Newsletter
He also said that U.S. voters had “an alternative to vote for.
A few weeks later, Mr. Kenny, when asked if would state his view directly to Mr. Trump at some point in the future responded: “Certainly. I’d be very happy to.”
Kenny was stepping back from these words today.
According to reports, Kenny was describing those “racist and dangerous” remarks as being words delivered “in the heat of battle.”
In a softening of his outspoken rebuke of Mr. Trump just months ago, Mr. Kenny said he would be happy to work with him, the Irish Independent reported.
Said Kenny: “I recall a comment made in the Dáil when asked if I would agree that comments made in the heat of battle, in a primary election, by the president-elect, before he was nominated formally as a candidate, were racist and dangerous,” Kenny said.
“And I said ‘yes’, in respect of those comments.
“I listened very carefully to the president-elect this morning, and the first thing he said was, it was now time to heal wounds, to build partnerships, to work constructively with people of the U.S. and every other country and people who want to work with him.
“I am very happy that the government will work with the new administration when appointed by the president-elect.”
Mr. Kenny is now adopting a different tone: “I’d be happy to deal with the president in a very constructive way as he has announced to the world that his administration will work to heal the wounds in America, will work to have the American people unite and form partnerships with like-minded countries for opportunities for everybody,” he said.
The taoiseach, according to reports, vowed to work with the new administration in Washington “in the cause of international peace and security.”
He stated: “On behalf of the government and the people of Ireland, I am pleased to offer our sincere congratulations to Donald J. Trump on his election as the 45th president of the United States.
“Ireland and the United States have enjoyed a very close and warm relationship for many generations and I am confident that under his leadership our bilateral relations will continue to prosper.”
Mr. Kenny also spoke of defeated Democratic Hillary Clinton describing her as “a friend to Ireland who fought such a tough campaign.”
Mr. Kenny added: “We are all acutely conscious of the particular responsibility of the United States for leadership and engagement across the globe in our endeavors to address shared challenges.
“I look forward to working with the new administration in the time ahead, in the cause of international peace and security.
“I also intend to work closely with the new administration and newly elected United States Congress to pursue comprehensive immigration reform, an issue that is so important to tens of thousands of Irish people who are making a major contribution to America.”
Mr. Kenny also congratulated vice president-elect, Mike Pence.
Pence, he said, “is a proud Irish American who spent many summers in Ireland as a child.”
As likely as not, Mr. Kenny might have to wait for St. Patrick’s Day for as meeting with President Trump at the White House.
Should there be a St. Patrick’s Day celebration to follow at the presidential mansion it might prove to be something of a headache for the taoiseach.
Several weeks ago, in what might have been an accidental prediction of the November 8 election outcome, the Northern Ireland party, the SDLP, indicated that it would boycott any St. Patrick’s Day celebration at the White House hosted by a President Trump.
Mr. Kenny is unlikely to follow suit.
Mr. Trump, meanwhile, unlike several modern presidents, does not have an ancestral homestead in Ireland.
Rather, he owns a golf resort in Doonbeg, County Clare.
Mr. Trump’s new job is unlikely to afford him the time to visit Doonbeg anytime soon.
He has been seeking planning permission to build a sea wall along part of the course as a defense against erosion from the Atlantic.
Now that he will be Commander in Chief, Mr. Trump might be able to employ the Army Corps of Engineers, thus getting Clare County Council off the hook.