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'Moronic', 'odious', 'vile': How public expressed anger at Tánaiste's claim that Donald Trump is not racist

Emails released under the Freedom of Information Act show how the public reacted to a now-postponed visit by Trump to Ireland.

Simon Coveney (L) and Donald Trump (R)
Simon Coveney (L) and Donald Trump (R)

A CLAIM BY Tánaiste Simon Coveney that he did not think Donald Trump was racist prompted several angry emails from members of the public in September, it has emerged.

Records released under the Freedom of Information Act show that the public reacted furiously to the Department of Foreign Affairs over a proposed visit by the US President to Ireland.

Trump had been due to visit Dublin and his hotel in Co Clare on Monday, 12 November as part of a trip to Europe to coincide with Armistice Day on 11 November.

The now-postponed visit drew widespread criticism from opposition politicians and members of the public, and a number of protests had been planned to coincide with Trump’s stay.

The Department received 23 emails complaining about the visit, with many expressing anger at Coveney for comments he made after the visit was announced in late August.

‘Totally racist’

On 7 September, the Minister for Foreign Affairs was asked if he thought that Trump was a racist, a viewpoint aired by former Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

“No, I don’t say he is a racist,” Coveney replied.

“As I have said before, I disagree with many of the policies that he advocates … but it is the reality and the way that mature politicians deal with things is they meet each other, they have disagreements and they explain each other’s positions, directly.”

However, several people subsequently wrote to the Minister questioning his remark, with ten emails to the Department accusing Trump of racism.

“I find it astounding that you state that Donald Trump is not racist,” one person wrote.

“Is this the man lauded by the KKK, the NRA, and whose response to Charlotsville [sic] vindicated those white supremacists as “having some good people in their midst”?”

“It is possible that Mr Coveney’s comment might not reflex [sic] the views of the Irish people,” another person wrote.

A third person said that the US President’s “every bone, molecule and DNA [sic]” were racist and called on Coveney to stop saying otherwise.

Rescind invitation

However, racism was not the only accusation levelled at Trump by members of the public.

Other emails called the US President “misogynistic”, “homophobic”, “vile”, a “sociopathic narcissist”, a “despot”, “odious”, “a bully”, “a destroyer of all humanity”, a “sexual predator”, “toxic”, “evil”, “an insult to humanity”, “a menace to be sidestepped” and a “whore master”.

One member of the public drew attention to some of the scandals surrounding Trump and questioned how the government could invite him to Ireland.

“He has publicly mocked the disabled, belittled African-Americans, labelled Mexicans as criminals, and objectified and insulted women, recently referring to former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman as ‘that dog’,” they said. 

Many people asked the Government to withdraw the invitation issued by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar during his St Patrick’s Day visit to the US in March.

“Take a leaf from Senator John McCain [sic] and tell him to stay where he is,” one person said.

Another person wrote: “Trump and his maligned, moronic and absurd policies are harmful to and dangerous for the entire world and he must not be given any platform here in Ireland to promote his vile and evil agenda.”

Others said Coveney and the government should “rethink [their] support”, and rescind the invitation to Trump “at the earliest date”.

Dialogue

Others still chose to take aim at the government, threatening not to vote for Fine Gael in the next election and informing Coveney that they would protest Trump’s visit.

One person, who said they were “appalled” at the government’s invitation to a “sinn-féiner” [sic] in world trade asked why they had issued the invitation at all.

“The answer is that Fine Gael is not, when the chips are down, a party of principle, but a party of business,” they said. “And that, I fear, is what lies behind the invitation.”

Another complainant said that Coveney “did not speak for” them and should “get some back bone”.

“I voted for this government and have supported its agenda on most levels but feel the level of public outrage on this will be unlike anything seen before,” said one person, who questioned the visit despite understanding the importance of dialogue.

“I know you have to kiss the ring a little,” said yet another, before adding that they “lost a lot of respect” for Coveney for welcoming Trump to Ireland.

One correspondent listed more controversies surrounding the US President, including a travel ban imposed on individuals from some Muslim majority countries and his reactions to the US earthquake in Haiti and a far-right protest in Charlotteseville in 2017.

“I wish you well with welcoming this truly horrible human to our country,” they added.

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