Trump ‘planning to visit Ireland in the run up to next presidential election’

Donald Trump and Melania

President Trump is planning to visit Ireland again before the next presidential election, according to sources in the Irish media.

He had originally intended to visit the country on his way to the Armistice Day commemorations in France. The White House said he wanted “to renew the deep and historic ties between our two nations”.

However, the trip was controversially called off in August. Mr Trump’s officials said scheduling issues were the reason for the cancellation, but it was widely suspected that the president didn’t want to face any protests against him.

The Irish Labour Party leader Brendan Howlin had described Mr Trump as being “no friend of democracy and human rights” and encouraged his constituents to protest against the visit.

The decision to cancel at that time may also have been influenced by the way President Trump faced massive protests during his visit to the UK in July. Thousands marched against him and a giant spoilt baby inflatable doll was flown above London during his meetings with Prime Minister Theresa May and the Queen.

He met further protests when he visited his golf course in Scotland, with a plane carrying an anti-Trump banner able to fly across the course despite the air space in the area supposedly being closed.

President Trump was originally invited to Ireland by Enda Kenny when he was Taoiseach and then by his successor, Leo Varadkar.

Mr Varadkar was taken by surprise by the cancellation in August but said the president is always welcome in Ireland. He said: “There is an open invitation to the US president to visit Ireland at any time, I think they’ve all visited since Reagan, if not before and obviously there’s an open invitation for me, or any future Taoiseach to attend Washington in March.”

The Irish Herald newspaper now reports that it has spoken to sources in the Irish government who say that the open invitation still stands and there is an expectation that Mr Trump will visit before his term ends in 2020.”

The Herald also suggests that another reason for the cancellation in August was that the president thought he would be dealing with the fall out from disappointing mid-term elections. An Irish government source said: “Had they known the mid-terms would play out as they did then there’s a good chance he’d actually be in Ireland now.”

Most presidents since Kennedy have visited Ireland at some time, partly to visit the homeland of their ancestors, partly to help maintain the special relationship between the two countries and partly because it plays well with the large and important Irish-American constituency, who are vitally important in US elections.