04 February 2017
This week I am back in West Palm Beach, Florida, and two things seem to be on everybody’s mind - the Super Bowl and the Donald. I won’t be escaping either. Let’s start with the Super Bowl. I will be going to a party to mark the occasion and will be rooting for the New England Patriots. I do, after all, have long standing connections with the state of Massachusetts. What’s amusing me about the match is not the football, but whether Lady Ga Ga is going to use the occasion to disparage the Donald. She performs at half time. The other is an advert. Budweiser is running an expensive mini production emphasising it’s immigrant roots. It was obviously planned sometime ago but may well be perceived as mud in the eye for the Donald.
Now to the 45th President of the United States. First to the blatantly obvious. Since he entered the White House he has engaged in a flurry of activity, but it has to be said the agenda he is pursuing closely reflects what he said he would do on the campaign trail. What is astonishing everyone is that he is living up to his promises, something politicians rarely do. Secondly, this idea that the Taoiseach should shun the invitation to the White House is just plain idiotic. Whether we like it or not, the Donald won the election and it would be a huge disservice to the thousands of undocumented Irish in the United States not to engage with the new President. It also goes without saying that the possibility of the new administration engaging in protectionist policies poses a serious threat to our national interest. I am frankly disappointed to see Brendan Howlin opposing the Taoiseach’s visit. One would have expected after his participation in government at the highest levels he would have a better grasp of the national interest. Frankly pathetic.
This weekend the tycoon President heads for his southern enclave, the Mara-a-Lago Club on the island of Palm Beach where the membership fees have just doubled to $200,000. Who says being President isn’t going to benefit his fortune. Then the Donald takes an unprecedented approach to the intermingling of his business and political interests. Many believe that this may be his undoing and lead to his eventual impeachment. But the Donald is in for a surprise. There will be a demo starting near where I am staying. If something goes wrong, it will make headlines around the world. Not comfortable for the blue collar billionaire.