President Trump has finally finished inflicting his unbearable presence on the United Kingdom and has now moved onto Ireland. Today, he met with Leo Varadkar the Taoiseach — or Prime Minister — of Ireland and in a turn of events that should surprise absolutely no one botched it in stunning fashion.
While speaking to the press and seated beside Varadkar, Trump brought up Brexit, the looming withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union. The broad and undeniable consensus is that Brexit will inflict massive economic damage on the UK, leading to a jump in poverty and unemployment while damaging trade. Trump, who is wrong about just about everything, is a big supporter of Brexit and the odious rightwing demagogues who have managed to sell it to the British people.
Brexit also has massive implications for Ireland, which is split between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, the area of Ireland that makes up part of the United Kingdom. Currently, both regions are part of the European Union, but if the UK withdraws it would mean the Republic of Ireland would be in the EU and Northern Ireland would not. Such a change could greatly complicate the border between the two, restricting the flow of not only trade but also people.
Historically, the Northern Ireland border has been a region rife with armed conflict, with some Irish believing that all of Ireland should be one country and others adamantly believing that Northern Ireland should remain part of the United Kingdom. Already there are signs that Brexit could reignite violence in the region, marking a return to the period known as The Troubles, during which there were bombings, gunfights, and all manner of tragedies. It was one of the darkest periods in Irish history and many alive today still bear the scars – both physical and psychological — from that time.
With all that in mind, it’s utterly unthinkable that an American president would bring up Brexit in a favorable light while talking to the Irish Prime Minister. It’s an incredibly nuanced issue and one that has much of Ireland greatly concerned. Trump’s glib praise of Brexit was made even worse when he compared the situation in Northern Ireland to the U.S.-Mexican border and alluded to the Irish building a wall like the one he insists we need in America.
As Trump rambled, Varadkar looked on in disbelief before jumping in to say that Ireland wants to avoid a border wall. Struggling to conceal his ignorance, Trump reversed course and said that he thinks that Ireland should actually avoid a wall because “the way it works right now is good.”
Of course, the way things work right now cannot stay the same under Brexit. Trump’s logic is completely contradictory. The president then proceeded to handwave the border concerns away saying it would “work out well” without mentioning how or why he thinks that. All in all, it was a thoroughly humiliating performance by the American president and further proof that Trump should have no hand in international affairs.
The moment greeted with facepalms across Ireland.
"It will all work out for you… with your wall, your border, we have a border situation in the United States and you have one over here"pic.twitter.com/4Tc0RXNn0I
— Richard Chambers (@newschambers) June 5, 2019
For a good crash course in the complications Brexit poses for Ireland check out the explainer video below.