Tuesday 25 September 2018

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Trumping the president

Wednesday, 12th September, 2018 5:01pm

Will he or won’t he? Do we want him to come or not?

Trump’s suddenly announced visit to Ireland was likely to be the most controversial visit to Ireland by a US President.

The manner of the trip's possible cancellation has been perfectly in character with the manner of the sudden announcement in August. The White House announced that Trump would travel to Ireland for the first time as president as part of a trip to attend the commemoration in Paris of the 100th anniversary of the armistice that ended the first world war on 11 November.

It was said to be cancelled on Tuesday, when the Irish Government said the trip would not go ahead because of scheduling issues.

Confusingly, Sarah Sanders, the White House press secretary, seemed to contradict that view by saying that no decision had yet been made at a press briefing on Tuesday.

She said: “The president will travel to Paris in November as previously announced. We are still finalizing whether Ireland will be a stop on that trip. As details are confirmed we will let you know.”

Whatever you think of the man, he is news. For that reason, our newsroom was a little sad that he may not be coming.

His arrival would certainly have prompted the greatest protests any US presidential visit here has seen.

Some of the confusion surrounding the trip may have been averted had a US ambassador to Ireland been in place. President Trump has as yet failed to appoint anyone to the role.

It has been reported that Edward Crawford, an 80 year old Ohio businessman, is likely to get the role.

It is thought that the Cabinet has approved the nomination but the US Senate would have to rubber stamp the move too.

Mr Crawford is reported to have Cork roots, so it could be a welcome appointment for us here.

The Cork branch of People Before Profit welcomed the announcement that US President Donald Trump’s visit to Ireland has been cancelled.

They had organised a protest in Cork in November during Trump’s previously scheduled visit.

The Cork branch said: “We are pleased to see that the Irish Government and their backers in Fianna Fáil will now not be able to welcome Trump to Ireland. People Before Profit Cork plan instead to host an event to celebrate diversity and oppose racism and division in Cork city, with further details to be announced.

“Planned mobilisations of anti-racist protesters across Ireland are almost certainly the factor that led to this cancellation. Activists in People Before Profit see this as an excellent example of the fact that large mobilisations of people – or even the planning of them – can have major impacts on society."

People Before Profit's Cork representatives also called on the Irish Government to revoke the standing invitation to Donald Trump.

That’s not very likely, but the confusion around his Irish trip is entirely in keeping with the style of his presidency so far.

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