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Tuesday 26 September 2023 Dublin: 13°C
# trad v trump
'Trump was lectured on immigration': Here's how the US media covered Enda's visit
The New York Times’ story was headlined: “Irish Premier Uses St. Patrick’s Day Ritual to Lecture Trump on Immigration”.

IRISH INTEREST IN the traditional Washington St Patrick’s Day celebrations has surged this year, in the wake of Trump’s shock win last November.

Almost as soon as the controversial businessman clinched victory, attention turned to the annual White House visit – with some arguing Enda Kenny should decline the invitation this year.

The Taoiseach was asked repeatedly in the run up to the visit whether he intended to raise subjects like the travel ban affecting Muslim-majority countries like Sudan and Yemen.

There was also speculation over whether Kenny’s comments last year that Trump had used “racist and dangerous” language on the campaign would come up, when the two men met.

Those remarks, made in the Dáil last May, were put under a renewed focus this week when former UKIP leader Nigel Farage said the Taoiseach should apologise to Trump. As a result, Kenny was asked to respond to Farage’s remarks during a US media op.

That angle, and Kenny’s lobbying effort on behalf of the Irish undocumented, made the news in the US in the last 24 hours.

Here’s how all the White House and Washington events were covered by American media outlets – starting with the New York Times:


The paper’s Mark Landler wrote that Trump ”found himself in a roomful of kelly-green-clad lawmakers in the Capitol for the Friends of Ireland luncheon, being lectured by Enda Kenny, the Irish prime minister, or taoiseach (pronounced THEE-shakh), about the virtues of America’s immigrant legacy and the contributions that immigrants had made to the country.”

He added:

“There are millions out there who want to play their part for America — if you like, who want to make America great,” he said, shooting Mr. Trump a pointed gaze as he appropriated the president’s campaign slogan. “You heard that before?” he said, to nervous titters.

Trump’s now almost infamous recitation of his beloved Irish ‘proverb’ also merited a mention from America’s paper of record:

For his part, Mr. Trump tried to keep things light. But in welcoming Mr. Kenny, he cited what he said was an Irish proverb that speaks to the fickleness of human relations. (The provenance of the phrase quickly came into dispute, with some on social media pointing out its similarity to a stanza in a poem by a Nigerian poet, Albashir Adam Alhassan.)

The New York Times also carried an op-ed from Irish Times columnist Fintan O’Toole (published in advance of the White House visit yesterday) in which he wrote that Kenny needed to stand up for all US immigrants, not just the Irish.

‘Musician boycott’ 



Kenny made the front page of the Wall Street Journal, while the Washington Post included a photo of Trump speaking in front of Irish and American flags on its front page, mentioning Kenny and his visit in the caption.

Inside the paper, there was coverage of three Irish musicians who boycotted the traditional celebration of Irish-US relations.

According to journalist Mary Jordan:

Three leading Irish musicians said they turned down offers to perform at the White House St. Patrick’s Day celebration Thursday because they are opposed to President Trump’s stance on immigration and his proposed budget cuts to arts programs.
“I just can’t bring myself to do it,” said Billy McComiskey, who was born in the United States after his father immigrated to New York from Northern Ireland. “My father would be disgusted with me if I supported this administration in any way.”
Instead of playing the Irish accordion for Trump, McComiskey — and two other acclaimed musicians, Laura Byrne and Donna Long — entertained students at Howard Community College in Maryland.

The paper’s online edition made mention of Irish reaction to the annual plámás-fest – including the Twitter reaction to Mike Pence’s use of the phrase “top of the morning”, and to Trump’s ‘proverb’.

post2 Washington Post Washington Post


Elsewhere, CNN ran a wider piece looking at the situation of the Irish undocumented in America:

They’re spared the glances. The “go back to your country” slurs facing so many undocumented migrants in the US. But they live in fear. They don’t call the police when there’s a break in. They think twice before they bring a sick child to the emergency room. Only, they’re white – and they’re Irish. / YouTube

Fox News carried an article from the Associated Press on its website with the headline: ‘Ireland’s leader pushes Trump on illegal Irish immigrants’

The first four paragraphs:

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny is urging President Donald Trump to help Irish people living in the U.S. illegally, saying they just want to “make America great.”
Kenny spoke at a luncheon at the U.S. Capitol on Thursday as part of a series of events celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, including a one-on-one meeting with Trump at the White House. Kenny told reporters after the morning meeting that he and Trump discussed immigration, trade and the Irish economy.
Trump welcomed Kenny to the White House, proclaiming his love for Ireland. At the luncheon, he called Kenny a “new friend” and quoted an Irish proverb to remember friends that “have stuck by you.” Trump added: “politically speaking, a lot of us know that.”
Kenny said that during the meeting, he sought to impress upon Trump the difficulties Ireland will face as a result of Britain’s decision to leave the European Union. Trump supported the British vote to leave the 28-country bloc, saying earlier this year that leaving would “end up being a great thing.”

enda6 How the Irish Independent and Irish Times covered the visit.

On balance, Kenny’s message about the position of the Irish in America got a much more positive response from liberal-leaning US outlets like the NYT and non-Irish outlets like Channel 4 News than it did in our own media.

Taoisigh regularly raise the issue of the Irish undocumented on White House visits. This year, however, it’s a subject that could hardly be more apposite:

Related: Trump’s ‘new friend’: What happened at the White House, when Enda came to visit… >

Read: Before Today FM – Radio Ireland launched and failed as a talk radio station >

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