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Former Trump critic Kenny 'will work with new man in the Oval Office'

By Brian Hutton

Taoiseach 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 (Irish) 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.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel pointedly offered the President-elect "close co-operation" on the basis of the shared values of "democracy, freedom, respect for the law and for the dignity of human beings, independent of origin, skin colour, religion, gender, sexual orientation or political views".

Russian President Vladimir utin sent Mr Trump a telegram of congratulations, expressing "his hope to work together for removing Russian-American relations from their crisis state".

Mr Putin said at a ceremony accepting the credentials of new ambassadors: "We are aware that it is a difficult path, in view of the unfortunate degradation of relations between the Russian Federation and the United States."

Mr Putin added: "It is not our fault that Russian-American relations are in such a state."

EU leaders invited Mr Trump to visit the 28-nation bloc to assess transatlantic ties.

With "sincere congratulations", EU Council President Donald Tusk and his Commission counterpart Jean-Claude Juncker said that, despite Trump's campaign talk of protectionism and isolationism, both sides "should consolidate the bridges we have been building across the Atlantic".

Chinese President Xi Jinping conveyed his congratulations to Mr Trump, saying he looked forward to working with him on promoting ties in a "constructive" way that would avoid conflict and confrontation.

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