Belfast Telegraph

Fianna Fail leader criticises Trump over attack on congresswomen

Micheal Martin said he took ‘great exception’ to Mr Trump’s remarks.

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin said Donald Trump’s criticism of four congresswomen was ‘outrageous’ (Brian Lawless/PA Wire)
Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin said Donald Trump’s criticism of four congresswomen was ‘outrageous’ (Brian Lawless/PA Wire)

The Fianna Fail leader has hit out at US President Donald Trump over his criticism of four US politicians, describing it as “outrageous” and “ridiculous”.

Micheal Martin said he took “great exception” to Mr Trump’s remarks, adding that they were at odds with the spirit of the American nation.

The US president tweeted last week that four Democratic congresswomen should “go back” to the “crime-infested places from which they came”.

Of the four women, who strongly oppose many of Mr Trump’s policies, one is black, one is Hispanic and two are Muslim. All are American citizens, and three were born there.

The remarks have been condemned by US Democrats who branded them as racist. Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he believed they “certainly have the hallmarks of racism”, while Tanaiste Simon Coveney said “fuelling hatred based on race is not acceptable in political discourse”.

Mr Trump has denied his comments were racist.

“It was outrageous and totally at variance with the spirit at the core of the American nation which is about all races and all creeds coming together to form anew, I mean that was the origins of the American state,” Mr Martin said.

“His comments were ridiculous, in terms of suggesting the newly-elected representatives would go back to the countries of their parents, or grandparents in some cases, as if they were responsible for the poor governance in those countries.

“It was a ridiculous statement to make, obviously it was in the context of the more sharply divided polarised American political environment, but I think there is a worry here that politics is being coarsened.”

The Cork South Central TD also said: “There comes a stage when European politicians need to stand up as well for core values and not be afraid to say we fundamentally disagree with president Trump’s approach, to progressive politicians who are making a difference in the United States, who have legitimate points to articulate.”

He continued: “President Trump is doing disservice to democracy.”

Asked whether he would stand up to Mr Trump if he became Taoiseach Mr Martin said there were limitations to power, but that he would “stand up for the values” that he believes in as a democrat and a parliamentarian.

“America is still a great democracy, it has its faults, so have we in our democracy, but I do think the language being used to describe other public representatives, this demonisation of opponents, what I call the coarsening of political language, I think is something we have had enough of,” he added.

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