Tánaiste ‘concerned’ about Trump’s election rhetoric
Fine Gael TD criticises Republican nominee on visit to Democratic convention in US
Frances Fitzgerald: Said she was concerned about use of language that is “overly racist and does down women” but said the Government would be respectful of the US election process. Photograph: Dave Meehan
Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald has said she is “concerned” about the campaign rhetoric of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, but still expects the Government to engage with his team should issues affecting Ireland emerge during the US campaign.
Ms Fitzgerald was speaking on her visit to the Democratic convention in Philadelphia where she is attending as a member of Fine Gael and an observer, rather than as a representative of the Government.
In an interview with The Irish Times, the Tánaiste said she was concerned about the use of language that is “overly racist or does down women” during the US campaign.
Mr Trump’s anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, anti-Mexican and anti-women rhetoric has divided public opinion in the US and led to the most vitriolic and polarising election debate in generations.
“I am concerned,” the Minister for Justice and Equality said of the tenor of the campaign. “I feel concerned as a woman. I feel concerned as someone who cares about inclusivity. I would be concerned about the rhetoric that has been excluding because exclusion is the worst thing you could do to people.”
Speaking outside an event hosted by the non-partisan National Democratic Institute that supports democratic processes around the world, she said the Government had to be “absolutely respectful” of the US election process but it could still raise issues with Mr Trump’s campaign.
“Nobody is going to be discourteous to somebody who is nominated by a political party and if there are opportunities and potentially issues that come up in his team I am sure they will be dealt with appropriately,” said Ms Fitzgerald.
The Fine Gael TD is one of several Irish politicians attending the convention in Philadelphia this week to witness Hillary Clinton formally accepting the Democratic nomination today.
Chief of staffKildare SouthJerry ButtimerFianna FáilMeath WestMark Kennelly
No Irish politician attended last week’s Republican national convention in Cleveland where Mr Trump became the party’s presidential nominee to face Mrs Clinton in the November 8th election.
Ms Fitzgerald acknowledged the difficulties of being a foreign representative when the Republican Party was undergoing dramatic change under Mr Trump.
While in Philadelphia, the Tánaiste handed a submission from the families of the victims and the survivors of the Berkeley balcony collapse to Lorena Gonzalez, the chairwoman of the California assembly budget committee who plays a critical role in the passage of state legislation.
The families are hoping to influence proposed changes to California’s building regulations in response to the June 2015 accident that killed five Irish students and a young Irish-American woman.