Ganley dismisses Trump attack on his company as ‘politics’

Ex-president fires broadside at Karl Rove, lobbyist for Irish businessman’s firm Rivada

Co Galway-based businessman Declan Ganley has dismissed Donald Trump's criticism of his company, Rivada Networks, as "politics" after the former US president attacked the firm's lobbyist and shareholder Karl Rove.

Mr Trump launched a broadside against Mr Rove, a former White House chief of staff to President George W Bush, in a statement after the former Republican aide condemned his speech to a convention of US political conservatives last weekend in a column in the Wall Street Journal.

Without naming Rivada, which Mr Rove advises and is a shareholder in, Mr Trump referred to the Republican’s lobbying on behalf of the telecoms company when he was still president.

Mr Rove had meetings at the White House as part of his lobbying efforts in Washington DC as the company was seeking to enter a potential contract with the US government to build a 5G telecoms network by leasing the US department of defence’s mid-band spectrum.

Mr Trump said Mr Rove “came to the Oval Office lobbying for 5G for him and a group”.

"After a lengthy discussion with Rove and chief of staff Mark Meadows, I said no, they're not qualified. Our nation can do much better!" Mr Trump wrote.

Mr Trump’s statement came in response to Mr Rove’s Wall Street Journal column on Thursday headlined, Trump’s appeal rings hollow at CPAC, in which he criticised Trump’s speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference as “stale” and questioned his political “viability”.

Mr Ganley told The Irish Times that Mr Trump’s attack on Mr Rove and Rivada was motivated by what Mr Rove had written about the former US president in the column.

“This is politics. If Karl didn’t write that column in the Wall Street Journal yesterday or the ones he has written since the election, I am sure we would still be qualified,” he said,

Rivada is one of 68 companies – including telecoms giants AT&T and T-Mobile – to have submitted information on the defence department's request for information on opening up capacity to telecoms companies to allow a national 5G network with high-speed connectivity.

The initiative could be highly lucrative if it progresses to a request for proposals from businesses with the prospect of a private company landing a multibillion US government contract to operate a 5G network on the government’s behalf using the Pentagon’s airwaves.

Mr Ganley was unperturbed by the former US president’s criticism and still confident that Rivada’s submission could compete against the major telecoms giants pushing for the major US government contract if the Pentagon proceeds to putting a contract out to competitive tender.

"If this is the yardstick we are using to measure qualification, if Karl Rove writes lovely things about Donald Trump, we will be qualified again," he said.

The Tuam-based businessman and Rivada, a US firm incorporated in Virginia, are suing US broadcaster CNN for defamation after it claimed last October that the Trump administration was pressing defence officials to award Rivada a contract without holding a competitive process.