I am so proud of my people today, and I don’t mean Americans. I’m talking about my ancestral people, the Irish, who laid waste to Donald Trump on the first day of a two day visit to the Emerald Isle, in the VIP lounge of Shannon Airport, using the tools of which they are supreme masters: language, humor, and truth; all focused and aimed with laser-like precision. Irish Prime Minister, Leo Varadkar, made orange moss pudding out of Trump and the book makers aren’t even bothering to lay odds whether he’s oblivious to it or not. They already know the score.
As you know, Trump first wanted to have a meeting with the Irish PM at his golf course in Doonbeg. The PM declined, not wanting to make the official visit to Ireland an infomercial for a Trump property. So, after dickering back and forth, the VIP Lounge at Shannon Airport was decided upon — which to any normal sensibility is a slap in the face. Do you know of any other honored guest, let alone American president, who was met by a head of state in an airport lounge? No, and that’s because Trump is neither honored nor a guest. Meeting him was strictly a perfunctory gesture on Varadkar’s part — but it was not without comedy, especially when Trump made an analogy between the Troubles between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, and the immigration issue with Mexico, and suggested that Varadkar needed a wall of his own to keep out the Protestants. Irish Times:
As for the Border: “I think it will work out and it will all work out very well. Also, for you, with your wall, your border. . .”
There was a quiet gasp from the Irish.
“We have a border situation in the United States and you have one over here, but it’s going to work out very well. I think it’s both going to work out very well.”
And that strange noise heard above the Burren Suite was not the sound of an overflying aircraft, but the whoop of joy from Simon Coveney [Minister For Foreign Affairs, who deliberately avoided meeting Trump because of his Brexit views] in Belfast who was thanking his lucky stars that he didn’t have to listen to such twaddle. As Trump went on to declare that Brexit could ultimately be “very, very good” for us, Leo maintained that placid smile but his eyes started darting about in his head.
This was after he felt compelled to make a respectful intervention after the Brexit-border talk became too much to take.
“The main thing we want to avoid of course,” stammered Leo, with a non-threatening laugh in his voice, “is putting a border or wall between. . . ”
“Oh, I think you do. I think you do,” interrupted president Trump.
“Both sides,” continued Leo, his voice trailing off.
Trump blathered a bit more about climate change and the environment, assuring Varadkar that on his watch, America had the best air and water in the world — the water was “crystal clear.” I guess we’re all getting Rocky Mountain Spring water out of the tap these days. Maybe we can make Coors beer.
Then as the Irish Times put it, “the circus moved on to Doonbeg,” in four limousines rented from an Irish funeral home at the cost of $116,879 a mile. Hand to God, this is accurate. You can’t make this s*it up.
Here’s what was said by Varadkar after Trump’s departure for Doonbeg in plain English and I’ll translate it into Irish-speak for you.
“You know, he is president of America and there are nearly 200 countries in the world. So I don’t think it’s possible for him to have an in depth and detailed understanding of issues in every single country.” Translation: “The man doesn’t have the slightest fooking clue what the hell he’s talking about. He’s a blithering arse.”
The Taoiseach ended his day with a Trumpian flourish, making sure to tell everyone that Fine Gael [Varadkar’s political party, currently in power] had done very well in the European elections.
“I’ve got the best elections. Tremendous election. Crystal clear result.”
HAHAHAHAHAHAHHA! This seemingly-polite back-handed yet open slap of Trump is the essence of Irish wit, and believe me, thousands of toasts will be drunk to the Taoiseach tonight as the be-diapered Trump blimp wends it’s way across the Irish sea for a demonstration in Dublin Thursday. Whatever their historical differences, the Brits and the Irish are seeing eye to eye on this one.
And my personal fantasy? I see all the great departed Irish literary minds and comic geniuses up in the big shebeen** in the sky toasting the Taoiseach as well. I see Oscar Wilde clinking a pint with George Carlin, while George Bernard Shaw lifts one to Jimmy Breslin, as Robin Williams and William Butler Yates wipe their eyes, moist from laughter. As do I, believe me, as do I. Slainte!*
*Irish toast, pronounced “slan-shaa” meaning “to your health”
**A disreputable pub