Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

'Bend the knee' reception for Trump embarrassing, says Eastwood

Anti-Trump protesters gather in London yesterday
Anti-Trump protesters gather in London yesterday
Suzanne Breen

By Suzanne Breen

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood has condemned the Government's "bend the knee" reception of President Trump and has expressed solidarity with those opposing his visit.

But the DUP accused politicians joining the protests of being "more comfortable with the politics of the Students Union than in international diplomacy".

The US President begins his visit to the Republic today.

Sinn Fein said he must be made aware that Irish people don't share his opinions.

"President Trump's visit will be marked by protests by many people who reject his views, and rightly so. Sinn Fein will be part of those protests," the party said.

Mr Eastwood welcomed the "strong organised opposition" in London to the President's visit there.

"The embarrassing spectacle of the British Government rushing to bend the knee in deference to Trump's office, divorced from his toxic politics, demeans their position on the international stage," he said.

"The people of Ireland know, better than most, how dangerous the politics of hate and division can be."

But DUP MP Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said: "Not everyone will agree with Donald Trump - that is the nature of democracy, but a state visit is a demonstration of friendly relations between two sovereign states, not a referendum on Donald Trump's election pledges.

"Instead of pulling up the drawbridge and shouting from the sidelines, we should be seeking to build and maintain such diplomatic relations with other countries."

Alliance MLA Stewart Dickson criticised the President for "glorifying sexual harassment, discriminating against women, Muslims, transgender people and immigrants, while separating refugee children from their parents".

He added: "We respect the presidency. When Donald Trump respects it too, we will respect Donald Trump."

TUV leader Jim Allister said he hoped "the President's straight-talking style and can-do attitude rubs off on the British political establishment".

He added: "If that sort of approach had been taken to Brexit for even a fraction of the past two years the UK would be in a much stronger and respected position than at present."

Referring to the 75th anniversary of D-day, Ulster Unionist leader Robin Swann said: "I believe that the office of President of the United States should be respected, not least as we prepare to remember the shared sacrifice of June 1944."

Green leader Clare Bailey also voiced her opposition to Trump's visit.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph