Why is Trump meeting the Irish PM in an airport lounge?
Published Wednesday, June 5, 2019 10:40AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, June 5, 2019 11:29AM EDT
Donald Trump is set to meet Ireland’s prime minister in an airport lounge following a row over the venue for his first Irish visit as president.
Trump is in Europe for D-Day commemorations and a state visit to the U.K., but is taking time to visit his golf resort on Ireland’s west coast from June 5 to 7.
A row erupted last month, when White House officials insisted the meeting between Trump and Taoiseach (prime minister) Leo Varadkar be held at Trump International Golf Links and Hotel near the village of Doonbeg, County Clare.
“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 host President Trump at his hotel.”
A deal was struck for Trump to meet Varadkar at the VIP lounge at Shannon Airport, hardly the grand setting usually afforded a meeting of world leaders.
Trump was scheduled to visit Ireland last year but the trip was abruptly cancelled.
His meeting with the Irish PM is expected to last about 30 to 40 minutes, before Trump departs for his golf resort in Marine One with the First Lady, Melania Trump, according to the BBC.
A spokesman for Mr Varadkar told the BBC they would hold talks about bilateral relations, E3 visas, free trade and Brexit.
Leo Varadkar previously met the U.S. president during St Patrick's Day celebrations in Washington D.C. in March.
President Trump will depart Shannon on Thursday morning to go to France for further commemorations and, the BBC reports he will hold a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron before returning to his Doonbeg resort.
Trump is expected to play golf on Friday before flying back to the U.S.