Irish Embassy arranged Trump-Kenny call through associates of Rudy Giuliani

Kenny one of nine world leaders to speak to Trump within 24 hours of his election

Taoiseach's statement on Donald Trump's victory today. Video: Dáil Éireann.

 

The Irish Embassy in Washington ensured Enda Kenny was the first EU leader to speak to US president-elect Donald Trump by arranging it through associates of former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani.

Mr Giuliani was one of Mr Trump’s top campaigners leading up to the Manhattan businessman’s shock presidential election victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton on Tuesday and is tipped for a US cabinet post.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny spoke with Trump on Wednesday (early on Thursday Irish time) in a call that was set up through one of the Irish Embassy’s long-standing Republican contacts in Washington who has strong connections with Mr Giuliani, a source told The Irish Times.

Embassy officials tried two other routes to ensure the Government would land one of the first leader calls with Mr Trump, including through one of the businessman’s campaign staff in Pennsylvania.

After a flurry of contacts, a senior executive at Mr Trump’s company in New York spoke to officials at the embassy to inform them that the president-elect could take the call within 10 minutes. Through the Taoiseach’s private secretary, the call was hastily arranged and the two men spoke for about 10 minutes.

St Patrick’s Day

Mr Kenny received the first invite to the White House from Mr Trump after the president-elect asked him to travel to the White House for St Patrick’s Day, continuing a tradition that dates back to 1952.

He congratulated Mr Trump on his victory and both men made a commitment to work together to the mutual benefit of Ireland and the United States.

“I had a very good conversation with the president elect,” the Taoiseach said in Dublin on Thursday morning.

“He understands Ireland very well. He was complimentary about the decisions about the economy here.”

Mr Kenny was one of only nine world leaders to speak to Mr Trump within 24 hours of his election and the only leader of an EU member state to speak with the Republican the day after his resounding victory.

The other countries were Egypt, Mexico, Israel, Turkey, India, Japan, Australia and South Korea.

Downing Street

Sections of the British press expressed outrage that the next US president spoke to Mr Kenny and others ahead of the UK prime minister Theresa May.

In a piece headlined “Donald Trump’s snub to Theresa May is a huge embarrassment”, Daily Telegraph columnist Con Coughlin wrote that since the time of Harry Truman and Winston Churchill, a call to London was regarded as “an essential gesture” to ensure relations between the countries remain “on an even footing”.

“So the revelation that Donald J Trump phoned nine world leaders – including a 10-minute conversation with the Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny – without even thinking to call Theresa May is worrying to say the least,” he wrote.

Mr Trump and Ms May eventually spoke on Thursday.

“While the ‘special relationship’ feels the strain, US-Irish relations have been given a boost, with a spokeswoman for Mr Kenny confirming he spent 10 minutes speaking to the real estate mogul,” the Sun newspaper wrote.