Remember that time President Donald Trump attended a Sinn Féin fundraiser in New York and was all buddy-buddy with Gerry Adams?
We didn’t either, initially, but it happened. Indeed, this week is the 25th anniversary of that Friends of Sinn Fein dinner,
During Gerry Adams’ second trip to the US to raise support for Sinn Féin and the peace process, Trump was one of many luminaries to attend a $200 a plate lunch for Sinn Féin at the Essex House in New York.
As the AP coverage at the time read, “Barred from the United States until last year, Adams drew celebrities and supporters to a posh Manhattan hotel for an unprecedented fund-raiser Wednesday. "Bianca Jagger, Tom Hayden, moviemaker Michael Moore and ex-mayor David Dinkins were among those paying $200 a plate to rub shoulders with Adams as Irish nationalist fund raising came out of the closet."
Adams had been barred from entering the US until January 1994, when then-President Bill Clinton approved Adams for a 48-hour visa, despite widespread protest from US and British officials.
By the time he returned in March 1995, Adams and Sinn Féin had already developed a significant following in the US beyond the expected Irish American community channels.
“The charismatic Adams was greeted like a rock star – posing for pictures and providing autographs,” the AP reported. “He received a kiss, a hug and some words of advice from Mick Jagger's ex-wife. He smiled and greeted a three-piece band playing traditional Irish music.
“An overflow crowd of supporters wildly cheered Adams as he stood on the podium, flanked by Irish and American flags. A banner behind him read: ‘Sinn Fein, A Lasting Peace.’
"'Today is a very historic occasion,' Adams said. 'I think the British indeed knew there were many friends of Sinn Fein here.'"
He also gave Trump a special mention from the podium. “This is not the Trump Tower, but I think I would…” he said, and moved to shake hands with Trump, seated at a table to the right of the podium.
As seen in the video footage, President Trump waved to the room and received a hearty round of applause and some whistles.
How Trump came to be at the fundraiser is unclear, though it is possible that his interest was piqued by his own Gaelic heritage. Some claim he likely learned Gaelic as a child from his Scottish-born mother, Mary Anne MacLeod.
News stories about Adams’ trips to the US in the 1990s listed Trump among his celebrity supporters and allies – who also included Bianca Jagger, Anjelica Huston, Oliver Stone, and of course then-President Bill Clinton (about whom Trump recently stated “ He used to be a friend of mine, now we can’t be friends”).
Are you surprised that Donald Trump was at one point a Sinn Féin supporter? Share your thoughts in the comment section, below.
* Originally published in 2015.