Irish leader Leo Varadkar apparently likes Donald Trump more than other leaders do, a liking that does not extend to Vladimir Putin who is very homophobic. He was speaking in an interview in the Irish Independent.
What would Leo say to Putin? "I have spoken to the Russian Ambassador about it, who takes the view that what we are hearing in the west is exaggerated. I don't believe that. So I would like to challenge him [Putin] about it, and really ask him why he thinks these policies make Russia stronger, make Russia greater. He is clearly someone who is the strongman, who wants to make his country powerful in the world again. I obviously don't agree with how he is going about that.
"But I would be curious to explore with him why he thinks that discrimination against gay people is the way to make Russia wealthier or more successful or more prestigious in the world because that is definitely his world."
Trump, on the other hand, was a more likable politician than he thought: "He is definitely more personable than I thought. A very tall man, for a start, and very friendly, which I didn't necessarily expect. But apart from that, he is the guy you see on TV. People often ask me what's he really like. He is the guy you see on TV. It is not an act. At least if it is, he was acting when I was there. He was very much the star of his own show. He gave me a lot of time. But obviously, I wanted to use those opportunities strategically.
"One was to raise awareness on immigration. (At the time) we were making some progress on this E3 Visa which would allow Irish people to travel to America again and take up opportunities there if we can get it through; the second obviously is trying to explain to him Brexit, what it was and how it could adversely affect Ireland because he has a negative view of the European Union. I was trying to explain it to him with a positive view. I'm not sure I got that across. I'll try again when I get there in March.
"The other thing that I really wanted to point out, because he is very concerned about trade balances and trade imbalances, was that trade goes both ways and that there are 100,000 Americans in America employed in companies that are Irish."
He also had kind words for Hillary Clinton: "I hadn't met Hillary until this year, and I was really impressed by her," Leo continues.
"I think, like a lot of people, like most people, you form your opinions of politicians and public figures from the media. So I kind of bought into that idea that she was - you know - cold and all the rest of it. She's not. She's extremely warm …
"We had a really warm conversation for an hour."
What did they talk about? "Everything from Chicago [where his boyfriend was based last year], friends, politics, Europe, you name it. She's really smart. When she left the room I really thought it is a really sad thing that she is not leader of the free world. And I had some of those perceptions about her that people have - that she would be cold or robotic."
Ireland’s first gay leader is spending the Christmas with his boyfriend, Matt Barrett, a doctor, whose parents live in Cork where Leo and Matt will spend the season. Politics is avoided.
"They're good like that. They don't talk about work too much. His dad is very much into football. So we will probably talk about that, I imagine. I imagine football will come up. It wouldn't be 20 questions on your job but I'm sure it will touch on the conversation.”
H/T: Irish Independent