Well here we are. It’s Inauguration Day and Donald Trump is going to be sworn in as the 45th president of the United States of America.
This is not, as one Scottish newspaper listed the televised ceremony, a reboot of "The Twilight Zone," but the unexpected result of an unprecedented US election. And for the occasion, as a dual citizen, one of the things that’s helping me cope is to look back at all the many ways, from the political to the humorous, Ireland and Irish people tried to send some sense across the Atlantic to prevent a Trump presidency.
Thanks for trying, lads, and please don’t keep quiet these next four years.
An Irish restaurant offered American visitors a discount if they promised not to vote for Trump.
Café Soul on Guildhall Street in Derry incurred both the wrath of online Trump trolls and the admiration of his detractors in their attempt to play a part in ensuring The Donald would not become President of the United States.
Taking advantage of the large number of American visitors to Northern Ireland during the summer months, Café Soul displayed the large message “American visitors? 10% off if you Dump Trump” in the window. The cafe's social media accounts added, “The world is mad enough, let’s not add to it.”
Ireland’s president, Michael D. Higgins, blasted Trump for being anti-immigrant and racist.
In an extraordinary intervention in the US presidential election Ireland’s president Michael D. Higgins slammed GOP candidate Donald Trump for fomenting racism. In an interview with Ireland’s Sunday Business Post, Higgins sided with United Nations human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, who had warned that Trump was “playing on popular prejudices and fears about migrants in order to win power.” Higgins stated that targeting the most vulnerable was utterly wrong and the Irish especially knew all about it from their history.
“I think the UN representative has been explicit in actually naming the people who have been using this demagoguery, and I’m very pleased that he has,” Higgins said. “It has to be challenged, the notion that you can whip up fear of the stranger with total impunity. Those seeds that are being sown are ones that have disastrous consequences."
Higgins also saw the writing on the wall of the 2016 election much earlier than most, warning that with the rise of poverty in the US, politics of inclusion must make a strong case lest the politics of fear win out, which it ultimately did.
This Irish woman’s video comparing Trump to a bad boyfriend went viral
Created by Clisare, stage name for YouTube personality Clare Cullen, the video “Dear America” showed her talking to America from the point of view of “Ireland” as a concerned friend who does not approve of America’s choice in boyfriends. The video began with Clisare saying, “I’ve just been chatting with all of the other countries, and we just really think that Donald is not right for you. We’d hoped that you’d come to this conclusion by yourself, but it’s looking like it needs to be said.”
It was viewed over 5.5 million times.
Enda Kenny called Trump out on racism and dangerous policies
Though he initially maintained a neutral stance during the 2016 election, Ireland’s Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Enda Kenny eventually did call out Trump for his racism and potentially dangerous platform. When pressed in a Dáil session regarding Trump’s comments on Muslims, Kenny eventually said, “If Trump’s comments are racist and dangerous, which they are, there is an alternative to vote for.”
When asked, post-election, whether he regretted that remark, Kenny said, "I don't. I made my comment in the Dáil on comments that had been made by the then candidate.” At the same time, he has been painting a rosy picture of faith in the security of Ireland’s bond with the US during a Trump presidency, though it seems unlikely we’ll be getting any Is féidir linn moments from The Donald, let alone the immigration reforms sought by the 50,000 undocumented Irish in the US. Here’s hoping Kenny will take that no regrets attitude to the White House for St. Patrick’s Day 2017, or, at the very least, will be pushed by his Dáil colleagues into taking a harder stance.
The Dáil, Ireland’s equivalent of a Parliament, discussed a ban on Donald Trump entering Ireland.
Just as the British Parliament did before them, Irish lawmakers heard a petition - actually, make that two petitions - to ban Donald Trump from entering Ireland. The petitions circulated in December 2015, following Trump’s proposal to ban on Muslims in the US, and were discussed by lawmakers in January 2016. The two petitions Two petitions were considered by the Joint Committee on Public Service Oversight and Petitions, which meant that both the Dail, the lower house, and the Senate took part.
Bono and U2 gave an over the top anti-Trump performance
While Bono has traditionally refrained from taking sides in American politics, preferring instead to garner widespread support for his charitable initiatives, he refused to sit idly by in the 2016 election.
It started with him hinting that he would continue to respect the Republican party despite Trump being their nominee, shifted to him calling Trump “potentially the worst idea that ever happened to America,” and escalated to a full-on musical take-down of Trump, projected on a jumbotron at a 16,000-person capacity arena in a performance piece entitled “Liberty…”
It was… perhaps a bit much. But it was nonetheless interesting and in some ways refreshing to see U2 try to get involved.
A Dublin bar decorated its urinals with Trump photos
This one verges on the unsavory (and takes on a slightly weightier meaning given the recent unverified allegations that Trump has a penchant for politically-motivated water sports).
The Adelphi Bar, on Dublin’s Middle Abbey Street, took aim at Trump by decorating their urinals with photos of his face. The bar claimed that The Donald preached hate in his colorful statements. Tony McCabe, the manager of the bar, said that Trump at the time was playing a central part in political debates taking place in pubs across Dublin, which was the reason they decided to put Trump’s face “where it mattered.”
He stated "I just felt that it was a way for some people to express their feelings towards Mr. Trump's views and to make their trip to the bathroom a 'wee' bit more entertaining."
A busker in Killarney sang to passersby about Trump’s lying
A Scottish busker on the streets of Killarney, Co. Kerry, had the crowd cackling over the summer at his take on the Republican presidential then-nominee Donald Trump.
Sporting a blond wig looking remarkably like Mr. Trump’s own locks, Eric Gudmunsen used Paul Simon’s “The Boxer” to tell passing shoppers about the real-estate mogul’s run for the Presidency and had some harsh words for the Oval Office wannabe, who also shares Scottish roots through his mother.
Describing the billionaire as a “hookster to the core” and having a go at the “haystack on my head,” the singer reworded the iconic chorus to explain what he thinks comes out of Trump’s pouted lips: “Lie, lie, lie - lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie …”