The last few weeks have been a bit difficult for me personally and as part of my ongoing battle against cancer I am back on chemotherapy. This has given me considerable time for reflection on some of the things that really matter. People have been asking me whether I would join the demonstrations that are inevitable when Donald Trump lands on our shores. I have read a lot of opinion pieces saying that we should respect the office and how important our links are with the United States. Believe me, I have a deep appreciation of the value of those links because without them we would never have got the Slane Distillery project off the ground with all the construction and now ongoing jobs it entails.
However, there are much bigger issues at play. Let me pose the question – how much respect has Donald Trump shown the Irish nation by his failure to appoint an Ambassador to the Republic ? I would also have to pose the question, if he didn’t own the Doonbeg Golf Resort whether he would ever bother to visit us ? Doonbeg I might add is rumoured to be financed by large amounts of Russian money. In short this visit is all about Donald Trump and his real estate interests and a lot less about the ties between our two countries. Incidentally I dread to think what the burden will be on the taxpayer for all the additional expenditure on security and organisation.
Writing this takes me back. I was a student at Harvard when the investigations by the legendary American journalist Bob Woodward led to the uncovering of Watergate and the downfall of President Nixon. Now with his damning critique of the Trump White House imminent, one has to ask, is this the beginning of the end for Donald Trump ? Keep in mind that Richard Nixon may have been an utter disgrace but I do not think for one moment he posed a threat to world peace. In fact his grasp of foreign affairs was admirable and his entente with China was, for its time, visionary.
Donald Trump by contrast is seen as having little understanding of how the world works. His impulsiveness in my view poses a real threat to world peace. In Woodward’s book, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly is quoted as describing Trump as “ an idiot who’s gone off the rails”. Kelly may have issued a denial but I believe Woodward.
On balance then, would I join the inevitable demonstrations against Donald Trump ? If I am well enough I will because not for one moment do I feel this disrespects the United States. It is Donald Trump that besmirches the office of the Presidency. The sooner they get rid of him the better.