Taoiseach to raise trade, gay and transgender rights with US president

Varadkar rejects call not to meet Trump and ‘green-wash’ his ‘racist, homophobic’ views

Solidarity TD  Paul Murphy Mr Murphy called on the Taoiseach not to meet US president Donald Trump because he is “racist, sexist and dangerous”. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/THE IRISH TIMES

Solidarity TD Paul Murphy Mr Murphy called on the Taoiseach not to meet US president Donald Trump because he is “racist, sexist and dangerous”. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/THE IRISH TIMES

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Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will raise issues such as gay and transgender rights when he meets US president Donald Trump at the White House next week, he has told the Dáil.

He rejected a call by Solidarity TD Paul Murphy that he should not meet Mr Trump.

Mr Murphy called on Mr Varadkar not to meet Mr Trump because he was “racist, sexist and dangerous”.

“He is a president who has not just bragged about sexual assault, not just been accused by multiple women of sexual assault, but whose policies and appointments reveal a deeply sexist and homophobic outlook”.

Mr Murphy described the US president as the “ugly face of a capitalist system devoted to maximising profit at any cost”.

He told the Taoiseach: “The best thing that you can do is to refuse his racist, anti-immigrant policies (and) to be green-washed with a bowl of shamrock.”

Mr Varadkar said Ireland’s very strong links with the US were ones that “will outlast any president or any taoiseach and I think it’s important that we see it all in that perspective”.

He said he did not agree with Mr Trump on climate change, migration, trade.

The Taoiseach said he believed very strongly in individual freedom including women’s rights and those of people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender.

But he said he intended to use the meeting to deal with and raise some of those issues including trade and pointed out that 100,000 people in the US are employed by Irish companies across 50 states.

He said the policy of not talking to people has “never really worked”.

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