Trump says that he knows ‘most of the millions of Irish’ people in America but people aren't convinced

Andy Gregory
Thursday 06 June 2019 11:15
news

Outlandish claims are a staple of Donald Trump's presidency that we've all had to endure over the past few years.

Ranging from the bizarre (wind turbines cause cancer) to downright dangerous (thousands of people "cheered" in New Jersey as the Twin Towers were destroyed), The Washington Post counted that within 601 days the president had racked up an impressive 10,000 false or misleading claims since entering the Oval Office.

On the surface, Mr Trump's latest untruth looks relatively benign and but also pretty amusing, but if you scratch beneath the surface, it suggests that much darker tendencies are inherent in the president's way of thinking.

During a controversial press conference with Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Mr Trump celebrated US-Irish relations by saying:

You are certainly one of the leading countries in terms of people moving and living in the United States.

We have millions of Irish, and I think I know most of them, because they’re my friends. We love the Irish.

That's right, Donald Trump claimed to know most of the millions of Irish people living in the US.

In the 2017 US census, some 33 million Americans - more than 10 percent of the population - self-identified as having Irish ancestry.

A big claim for a man who, if you took away his inherited wealth, would probably have struggled to convince more than a handful of people to even befriend him on Facebook.

At first glance, Mr Trump's statement is downright funny in its absurdity.

But when you compare it to his treatment of the other largest demographics of people "moving and living in the United States", it starts to look a little more bleak.

Aside from the fact that Trump described Mexicans as "criminals", "rapists" and "drug dealers", he has also shown he is prepared to damage the entire US economy in order to curb immigration via the Mexican border. He has imposed travel bans on those from Muslim-majority countries and continually complained about sending aid to Costa Rica after it was devastated by Hurricane Michael.

On top of this, he refused to denounce the racist views of far-right protestors at Charlottesville and has encouraged violent militias hunting down asylum seekers in southern states by comparing the US-Mexico border to "Disneyland" and calling for a tougher approach by officials.

When you compare his statement to the way Irish immigrants were treated in the past, his words also appear pretty hollow.

Clearly, Trump's anti-immigration rhetoric is at stark odds with this bizarre proclamation of support for those of Irish ancestry.

Trump's election sparked fear among US-Irish communities, as his administration began to deport undocumented Irish workers, however it is on no way on the scale seen in relation to those of Hispanic origin.

2017 data from US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement shows that 34 Irish citizens were removed, compared with 128,765 Mexicans.

On St Patrick's Day 2017, former Irish prime minister Enda Kenny seemed to chastise Mr Trump over his hardline stance, saying:

It’s fitting that we gather here each year to celebrate St. Patrick and his legacy. He too of course was an immigrant...

...Ireland came to America because, deprived of liberty, deprived of opportunity, of safety, of even food itself, the Irish believed.

People were quick to call the president out on his latest statement.

Read more: Leo Varadkar says Ireland wants to 'avoid a wall' after Trump's speech about the Irish border

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