A confrontation is heating up between the advance teams of the Irish and American governments during a possible presidential visit next month to Emerald Island.
President Donald Trump is expected to travel to Ireland for two nights during his visit to Britain and France to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day.
A source of the Irish government aware of the ongoing discussions told that the White House is insisting that the Irish prime minister, or Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, come to the President’s Golf Course in Doonbeg to organize a meeting between the two leaders.
According to the source, “the Irish government believes that the protocol dictates that any event they present for President Trump should be in place of his choice and certainly not in a hotel owned by Trump.”
“It’s a little unseemly to demand that the Taoiseach receive President Trump at his hotel,” the source said.
The source, who asked not to use his name in order to speak freely, says Trump’s chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, has been intimately involved in the discussions and has insisted that Varadkar come to Doonbeg.
The Irish offered to host the Trump for dinner at a nearby place, the Dromoland Castle, which is where President George W. Bush met with the then Taoiseach Bertie Ahern in 2004, and Varadkar comes to the property of Trump in Doonbeg to a breakfast.
“There was an attempt to reach an agreement in which the Taoiseach would organize a dinner for Mr. Trump in Dromoland and perhaps also visit Doonbeg for breakfast,” the source said.
So far, the source says, the White House has not accepted that offer and has threatened that the president will travel to one of his golf properties in Scotland.
“The confrontation continues with attempts to find a compromise,” the source said, noting that the standard diplomatic protocol states that “there is no official travel until the White House makes the final announcement.”
Another Irish diplomatic source with knowledge of Planning says: “the visit is already politically very delicate for Varadkar, as President Trump is incredibly unpopular in Ireland.”
“Leo is doing everything he can to minimize his exposure to Trump on this visit, but he is in a delicate position, as virtually all the European headquarters of the US digital company are in Ireland,” the source said, noting that corporations such as Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, and Apple have their headquarters there.
When asked about the possibility of a visit to Trump, Varadkar told reporters recently: “the president of the United States is always welcome here. We respect the role no matter what we think of the person himself.”
The official also said protesters are more than welcome: Ireland “is a democracy, and peaceful protest is part of democracy and would certainly never criticize anyone for participating in a protest if they want to express their views.”
The two leaders met for the last time in Washington in March, and Trump said then that “I will come sometime this year. I missed him last year and I would have loved to have been there. It’s a special place and I have a very warm place for Doonbeg, I’ll tell you that. It’s just a great place.”
“It’s really great to have the Irish prime minister with us, “Trump said at the time, and they were both becoming”fast friends.”