Donald Trump to visit Ireland this month

Presumptive nominee’s trip to Doonbeg coincides with Joe Biden’s visit to Ireland

Donald Trump on his arrival at Shannon Airport to visit his golf course in Doonbeg, Co Clare in 2014

 

Businessman Donald Trump, the presumptive US Republican presidential nominee, has said that he will travel to Ireland later this month to visit his golf resort at Doonbeg in Co Clare after visiting his courses in Scotland.

The New York billionaire announced the visit on Twitter, telling his eight million followers last night that he would leave for Scotland on June 22nd visiting his resorts in Turnberry and Aberdeen before travelling to Ireland. He plans to return to the United States on June 25th.

“After @TrumpScotland, I will visit @TrumpDoonbeg in Ireland, the magnificent resort fronting on the Atlantic Ocean,” he tweeted.

Mr Trump’s trip will coincide with the visit of US Vice President Joe Biden to Ireland from June 21st to 26th and the ‘Brexit’ referendum on June 23rd when British voters will decide whether or not to leave the European Union.

This will be the property mogul and reality-TV star’s first overseas trip since he became the expected Republican nominee after he saw off the last of 16 opponents and won a majority of convention delegates to clinch the nomination last month.

Mr Trump is expected to be formally named as the Republican nominee at the party’s national convention in Cleveland, Ohio in July. He will likely face former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton who is on the verge of winning enough pledged delegates to secure the Democratic presidential nomination.

The businessman’s visit comes at an awkward time for the Government. Taoiseach Enda Kenny called the billionaire’s presidential campaign remarks on immigration “racist and dangerous” during a Dáil debate on Tuesday.

A spokeswoman for Mr Trump declined to comment to The Irish Times in response to Mr Kenny’s remarks.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin urged Mr Kenny during the Dáil debate not to host the businessman on any potential visit to Ireland “as part of an attempt to moderate his image in the coming months.”

Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar this week described Mr Trump’s comments during the US presidential election campaign as “racist” and “sexist.”

Polarising campaign

During a polarising campaign, Mr Trump has called Mexican immigrants in the US racists and drug dealers, insulted rivals with highly personalised attacks and suggested that protesters at his campaign rallies should be beaten up.

He has adopted staunchly anti-immigration policies and promised to build a wall along the border with Mexico to keep illegal immigrants out of the country.

He has also criticised US multinationals for moving manufacturing jobs overseas and shifting their headquarters for tax purposes to countries in so-called corporate inversion deals.

He regularly singled out pharmaceutical giant Pfizer for its planned relocation to Ireland before new US regulations scuppered the deal.

The Irish Government was criticised for the welcome shown to Mr Trump when he landed at Shannon Airport visiting Ireland for the first time just over two years ago after he purchased the Doonbeg golf resort in Co Clare for €15 million.

He was greeted by Minister for Finance Michael Noonan, a harpist and a singer, and walked down a red carpet after disembarking from his Boeing 757 airliner branded with his own name, a plane since dubbed “Trump Force One.”

At a February campaign rally in Kiawah Island in South Carolina, which was developed by the same people who built Doonbeg, Mr Trump said that he no longer cared about the Co Clare resort now that he was running for president.

“I bought it a number of years ago and during the downturn in Ireland I made a good investment. It is an incredible place,” he said.

He called Doonbeg “small potatoes” in contrast to his bid for the White House, saying that he had handed over management of his business investments to his children and company executives to run during his presidential campaign.

The businessman’s son Eric opened a €5 million redesigned Doonbeg golf links last month, promising that his father would return to the resort many times after he was elected US president.

Mr Trump secured his strongest endorsement in his presidential campaign yesterday when the Speaker of the US House of Representatives Paul Ryan, the highest elected Republican, backed him in an op-ed in a Wisconsin newspaper.

The endorsement came as Mrs Clinton unleashed her strongest attack yet on Mr Trump, questioning his fitness to be the president and saying that he should never be given the “nuclear codes” as he could start a war given his “thin skin”.

There were violent scenes between pro- and anti-Trump supporters after his latest campaign rally in California last night ahead of the state’s primary election on Tuesday, the last day of voting in the Republican race.

Police struggled to maintain order on the streets of San José, south of San Francisco, as demonstrators continued to protest hours after the rally.