Despite the fact that just three months ago Donald Trump described his golf course and luxury hotel in Doonbeg, Co. Clare as a “small potatoes” investment for his kids to enjoy, his son Eric has promised that Trump will be a frequent visitor if he is elected president.
Eric Trump spoke with Irish reporters on Sunday at Doonbeg during a showing of the recently re-designed golf course. "We have put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into this property,” he said. “It is a property we love.”
According to an account of Eric’s remarks by the Irish Independent, he also said that there is no question his father will return to Ireland many times if he becomes President of the United States.
Trump’s most recent memorable visit to Ireland took place shortly after he purchased Doonbeg in February 2014 (video below). Given that the Irish Parliament (the Dáil) discussed two petitions earlier this year to ban Trump from entering Ireland, he might not receive the same fanfare and red-carpet treatment on future visits.
During Sunday’s tour of Doonbeg, the younger Trump told reporters that he had just given his father a full report on the course’s condition.
"I was on the phone to him earlier for 20 minutes and he was asking, 'How is (hole) four looking? How is six? How is 18?' He was very envious of me being here."
The tone of his comments appeared to conflict with the senior Trump’s most recent statements about Doonbeg, made during a late February campaign speech in South Carolina.
"I bought it a number of years ago and during the downturn in Ireland I made a good investment. It is an incredible place,” he told a crowd of 600.
However, he seemed eager to imply that politics have become more important to him than such minor real estate investments.
"We spent a lot of money on making it just perfecto and now it’s doing great. But I don’t care about that stuff anymore. It is like small potatoes, right.?” he said.
“I’ll let my kids run it, have fun with it, let my executives have a good time, but I don’t care about it. I care about making America great again. That’s what I care about.”
Trump purchased Doonbeg, now officially called the Trump International Golf Links & Hotel Ireland, in 2014 for an estimated $10 million.
Since then, the Trumps have put “north of $50m to $60m" (€45m to €53m) into Doonbeg, including the purchase price.
Eric Trump’s visit to Doonbeg also marked an effort to drum up support for a proposed coastal barrier for which Trump’s team in Ireland has been trying to secure planning permission in order to combat erosion brought on by storms. The building plans have previously been rejected by Ireland’s planning authority and challenged by environmental activists.
He cautioned: "When I came here and saw [Doonbeg] for the first time in 2014, they lost 20 or 30 meters [65 – 100 feet] of dunes. You have a couple more storms and quite frankly that course doesn't exist.
"If that course doesn't exist, nor does the hotel because I would say upwards of 90pc of all people who come to this resort are coming with golf clubs. If you take away that amenity, this place couldn't survive in the location it is in and you don't have the employees.
"Doonbeg will go down as one of the great treasures of Ireland. It would be a shame to see that disappear."
The younger Trump was also grilled on the status of his father’s presidential campaign.
"Right now, my father is winning the day in America. If the vote was today, he would be President of the United States," he said.
"My father jumped into this race because he wants to save America from some of the things it is not doing right. He wants to win for the right reasons."
Trump stated that his father is against illegal immigration, as opposed to certain groups of people as has often been claimed.
"It is very easy to say, 'his views on Muslims and views on Mexicans.' There is a much bigger picture than categorizing it like that.
"It is really views his on illegal immigration and that is the biggest issue that faces America. At the southern border, where you have tens and tens of thousands of people crossing every day and they are carrying heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine, that is getting through and it is affecting the youth, it is affecting family structure and it is affecting society and causing massive problems, massive violence, massive addiction.
"My father was the first one to say something about this and we need to handle the wall and the southern border. My mom is an immigrant, there is no one as close to immigration as us.”
Asked how it feels to hear his father criticized in the media, he replied, "On a human level, you never want to see your father attacked. I am the first person who wants to jump through the TV sometimes and shake somebody, especially when they are mis-categorizing something.
"You want to shake people. He has put $50m into the campaign, plus devoted months of his life and put aside his whole business to do something noble. That is a pretty selfless act."