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Thursday 2 February 2023 Dublin: 10°C
# red carpet treatment
VIDEO: Donald Trump's visit to Ireland is likely to be very different to the last time he was here
This time it’s far from business as usual / YouTube

THE WHITE HOUSE confirmed this evening that US President Donald Trump is coming to Ireland.

Details of the trip are still sketchy (the Irish government isn’t even sure exactly when he’s coming) but it’s likely to have a very different tone to the last time he was here.

That was back in May 2014 when he was met on the tarmac by a group of Irish harpists and singers in red dresses.

It was all very awkward, but Trump seemed pleased and gave the singers a nice clap when they finished serenading him.

trump clap

Back then Trump was just a wealthy businessman, albeit a very famous one, looking to invest, and Ireland’s Troika-era government was happy to have him.

So much so, then-finance minister Michael Noonan made the trip down to Co. Clare himself to press the flesh. 

Noonan did face some criticism for greeting Trump but most just saw it as cringeworthy rather than misjudged. 

Fast-forward four-and-half years though and it’s difficult to imagine that things could have changed more.

Trump is now the unlikeliest of US presidents and certainly the most controversial of the modern era.

Before his election in the November 2016, Trumps’ policies were called “racist and dangerous” by then-taoiseach Enda Kenny.

Trump in golf conservation deal Niall Carson / PA Images Michael Noonan with Donald Trump's three oldest children in Shannon Airport in May 2014. Niall Carson / PA Images / PA Images

After it, there were even questions about whether Irish politicians should attend the White House for the annual St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. 

In the end though, realpolitik won out and both Enda Kenny and his successor Leo Varadkar have made the trip to Washington. 

Ireland has yet to receive Trump though and this throws up a whole range of new diplomatic and political questions for the Irish government. Not least because it appears to be in the dark about the nature of Trump’s travel plans to Ireland. 

What is certain though is that this visit will feel very different to the one back in May 2014 when he arrived in his private jet and not Air Force One.

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