This marks a significant change from Kenny’s previously conciliatory approach to the presumptive Republican nominee for president.
Earlier in May, during a visit to Washington DC, Kenny told RTE that Trump had made “provocative remarks” but that some of them had been “rowed back on.”
"The world will have to work with whatever president there is and given our traditional association with the United States we will manage to do that," he said.
Following that statement, Kenny was criticized for striking such a deferential tone. IrishCentral’s Niall O’Dowd questioned why he was so quick to join the “appeasement chorus holding out hope that Donald Trump will mend his ways and work with other leaders,” and noted that the Taoiseach was “almost alone among European leaders to take such a stance.”
In today’s Dáil session, Kenny faced questions from Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin and Anti-Austerity People Before Profit’s Richard Boyd Barrett about the Irish government’s intentions should Trump be elected president.
Boyd Barrett questioned Kenny about whether the Irish government would continue to welcome US military planes at Shannon Airport if Trump, as president, chose to increase military involvement in the Middle East.
“Mr. Trump has talked about wiping people out across the Middle East and massively escalating US military action in that region,” Boyd Barrett said.
“Whatever about the previous differences between the Taoiseach and I on this issue, is he seriously going to tell the House that if Donald Trump was President of the United States, the Taoiseach would carry on with the policy of facilitating the US military at Shannon Airport?
“If the Taoiseach did that, it would beggar belief because everybody recognizes what a dangerous man Donald Trump is.”
Kenny initially declined to comment, calling the topic of the next US president a “matter for the American people.”
Eventually, he concluded “If Trump’s comments are racist and dangerous, which they are, there is an alternative to vote for.”
Micheal Martin said that while the members of the Dáil are not in a place to predict who would win the next American election, it is important to “stand up for basic principles.”
“It is worrying the kind of stuff that has been articulated in the United States election; it’s not acceptable,” he said, citing Donald Trump’s remarks on certain religions and ethnic groups, as well as his proposal to build a border wall between the US and Mexico.
“It sets an appalling example for the way the free world should be talking… I think that we as a government and we as politicians have to articulate that very clearly.”