Varadkar: I have sympathy with Trump for tackling media critics

Taoiseach tells reporters in Dublin he never said he agreed with US president

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at the opening of Zendesk’s new office in Dublin. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at the opening of Zendesk’s new office in Dublin. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

 

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said he has sympathy with president of the United States Donald Trump for taking on his critics in the media.

Speaking at a jobs announcement on Thursday, Mr Varadkar insisted he did not say he agreed with Mr Trump’s views on the media.

However, he added: “I just said I had some sympathy with him in the fact that he is willing to take on his critics, where the rest of us rightly tend to take criticism on board, absorb it or rise above it.

“I did not say I agreed with him in his comments on the media.”

Mr Varadkar told a private lunch gathering in New York on Tuesday that he sympathised with Mr Trump’s view of the media, saying the media was not interested in the truth but in the story.

He claimed political journalists were more interested in gossip at Dáil Éireann than in the workings of Government, describing their interest as being in whispers in the corridors of Leinster House.

He also claimed some investigative journalism in Ireland was incorrect, singling out RTÉ in particular for criticism.

In his comments on Thursday, Mr Varadkar denied launching an attack on the press and insisted he had made positive comments about the media that were never reported.

He said he had high regard for the media and had never made any personal criticism about any individual. He said he did not feel he had been the target of unfair or bad press.

“I regret if anything I said came across as me being unsupportive of the media,” Mr Varadkar added.