Instead of turning the meeting into a plug for Trump’s private business, officials for Prime Minister Leo Varadkar have suggested a historical site important to the Irish — nearby Dromoland Castle, The Irish Times reported. The stately west coast venue was the site of a meeting in 2004 between George W. Bush and Bertie Ahern, who was prime minister then.
The “Irish government feels that protocol dictates that any event it hosts for President Trump should be of their choosing — and certainly not at a hotel owned by Trump,” an Irish government source told CNN. “It is a bit unseemly to demand that the taoiseach [prime minister] host President Trump at his hotel.”
The official told CNN that the White House is “insistent” that the meeting be at the golf resort in Doonbeg. Varadkar has even offered to have breakfast at Trump’s golf course in addition to a meeting at another venue, but the compromise has not been accepted, according to the source.
An Irish diplomatic source called the visit “very delicate politically for Varadkar, as President Trump is incredibly unpopular in Ireland.”
The Irish embassy has denied there’s a problem.
Trump was considering a three-day visit to the Trump International Golf Links and Hotel Doonbeg during travel to England and France, according to The Washington Post. Now, the White House is threatening instead that Trump will travel to one of his two golf resorts in Scotland.
Trump stopped for two days at his Turnberry golf course in Scotland with an entourage last summer after an official trip to England. Trump repeatedly plugged the course during the visit, garnering major publicity for the resort. The taxpayer-funded trip was slashed by critics as an “infomercial” for the money-losing operation.
Trump earlier this year shamelessly touted his other Scottish course on his official Twitter account as the “greatest golf course anywhere in the world.” That led former White House ethics chief Walter Shaub to criticize it as a “corrupt” and “explicit commingling of personal interests and public office” — and an “invitation to graft.”
Trump’s unique situation as a president visiting property he owns in Ireland is raising “complex issues around protocol” — and questions concerning whether his trip to Ireland is a “private or official visit,” noted The Irish Times.