Meet­ing with Trump is not an en­dorse­ment

Bray People - - OPINION - with Deb­o­rah Cole­man

THERE has been a lot of dis­cus­sion about how var­i­ous world lead­ers should ap­proach any po­ten­tial re­la­tion­ship with US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump but in truth, it is a very del­i­cate sit­u­a­tion and a rash de­ci­sion now could be to our detri­ment as a small na­tion.

Calls have been made for An Taoiseach Enda Kenny to can­cel the reg­u­lar St Pa­trick’s Day visit to Washington in protest to Trump’s pro­posed ‘Mus­lim ban’.

Trump’s pro­pos­als are ex­tremely wor­ry­ing and in the short few days since his in­au­gu­ra­tion he has shown no signs of ton­ing down his rad­i­cal and racist at­ti­tude, but the fact is that he is the US pres­i­dent and we have to have some lines of com­mu­ni­ca­tion open.

The sheer thou­sands of Ir­ish em­i­grants liv­ing there alone need rep­re­sen­ta­tion and it the duty of Enda Kenny or who­ever our leader is at the time, to make the ef­fort to com­mu­ni­cate any con­cerns we have as a na­tion.

If we close down com­mu­ni­ca­tion, that will only dam­age our­selves, and we know from watch­ing Don­ald Trump in ac­tion, that he won’t be too both­ered about the loss of a St Pa­trick’s Day tête a tête with the Taoiseach.

While I’m sure Enda Kenny agrees with the view of most of the Ir­ish pop­u­la­tion that Trump’s racism can­not go un­chal­lenged, re­fus­ing to meet with him will only be to our detri­ment.

If we refuse to en­gage, then how can our po­lit­i­cal lead­ers make any mean­ing­ful in­put on our be­half ? We don’t have to agree with all of Trump’s views or poli­cies to have a po­lit­i­cal re­la­tion­ship with him and his ad­min­is­tra­tion.

The Taoiseach doesn’t have to pan­der to him or pre­tend that he is in favour of some of Trumps more rad­i­cal ideas and this stands for any other world leader. On the con­trary, he should be us­ing these vis­its as an ef­fec­tive way to put our con­cerns and views across. It is up to our Taoiseach to do his best for our coun­try and our peo­ple. That is what he was elected to do.

Trump needs to hear these, from ev­ery sin­gle leader who en­gages with him. The only thing worse than pan­der­ing to him, would be to ig­nore what he is do­ing, and let him con­tinue un­chal­lenged.

It is up to the peo­ple of the USA to make the pres­i­dent they so naively elected ac­count­able, not coun­tries like Ire­land.

While Enda Kenny no doubt agrees with a ma­jor­ity Ir­ish view that Trump’s racism can­not go un­chal­lenged, re­fus­ing to meet with him will only be to our detri­ment.

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