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Donald Trump's 'dangerous' remarks made in 'heat of battle' says Enda Kenny

Published 09/11/2016

Enda Kenny vowed to work with the new administration in Washington
Enda Kenny vowed to work with the new administration in Washington

Enda Kenny has said "racist and dangerous" remarks made by US president-elect Donald Trump were made in the "heat of battle".

In a softening of his outspoken rebuke of Mr Trump just months ago, Mr Kenny said he would be happy to work with him.

"I recall a comment made in the Dail when asked if I would agree that comments made in the heat of battle, in a primary election, by the president-elect, before he was nominated formally as a candidate, were racist and dangerous," the Taoiseach said.

"And I said 'yes', in respect of those comments.

"I listened very carefully to the president-elect this morning, and the first thing he said was, it was now time to heal wounds, to build partnerships, to work constructively with people of the US and every other country and people who want to work with him.

"I am very happy that the Government will work with the new administration when appointed by the president-elect."

In May, Mr Kenny described comments by Mr Trump during the election campaign as "racist and dangerous".

Some weeks later, when asked if he would put that view to the then presidential hopeful in any future meeting, he added: "Certainly. I'd be very happy to."

But pressed again in the Dail hours after the US election result was announced on whether he would be true to his word, Mr Kenny appeared to relax his stance.

"I'd be happy to deal with the president in a very constructive way as he has announced to the world that his administration will work to heal the wounds in America, will work to have the American people unite and form partnerships with like-minded countries for opportunities for everybody," he said.

Earlier, Mr Kenny said he is confident relations between Ireland and the US will continue to prosper under Mr Trump's leadership.

The Taoiseach vowed to work with the new administration in Washington "in the cause of international peace and security".

"On behalf of the Government and the people of Ireland, I am pleased to offer our sincere congratulations to Donald J Trump on his election as the 45th president of the United States," he said.

"Ireland and the United States have enjoyed a very close and warm relationship for many generations and I am confident that under his leadership our bilateral relations will continue to prosper."

In a statement, Mr Kenny praised defeated candidate Hillary Clinton for being "a friend to Ireland who fought such a tough campaign".

He added: "We are all acutely conscious of the particular responsibility of the United States for leadership and engagement across the globe in our endeavours to address shared challenges.

"I look forward to working with the new administration in the time ahead, in the cause of international peace and security.

"I also intend to work closely with the new administration and newly elected United States Congress to pursue comprehensive immigration reform, an issue that is so important to tens of thousands of Irish people who are making a major contribution to America."

Mr Kenny also congratulated the new vice president-elect, Mike Pence, who, he said, "is a proud Irish American who spent many summers in Ireland as a child".

Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern said: "I think from our point of view, we need to have a bit of a love-in with (Mr Trump's) people very quickly.

"To the best of my knowledge, and I still visit the US a bit, we don't have any connections with his team.

"When he was going to come here some months ago, when he was in Scotland during the campaign on his business interests, as far as I could read between the lines, it was probably made clear to him he would get a hostile welcome here, so that was dropped off the itinerary."

Mr Trump cancelled a planned stop-off at one of his golf resorts in Doonbeg, Co Clare, in June.

Mr Ahern said the new president probably did not believe he would win and would now have to get a team around him and "play ball" with his Republican party colleagues to get things done.

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