US president Donald Trump’s sons praised the people of Clare as “incredible” for supporting their Doonbeg golf resort and claimed that Irish support for their father’s visit “outweighed” any protests.
Donald jnr and Eric spoke as they walked up the main street of the small west Clare village on a crawl of Doonbeg’s four pubs, buying locals drinks and thanking them for their support of the family’s hotel and golf club.
Local backing for the resort since Donald Trump bought it in 2014 had been “unbelievable,” said Eric on Wednesday night.
“It is everything,” continued his brother Donald jnr, in response to a question from The Irish Times. “It has been incredible. It always has been from day one when we took a chance on Ireland.”
Asked about the protests against their father’s two-night visit to Ireland, the brothers said that they had seen “a lot of American flags, even in London” and “a lot of Irish flags” flying in Co Clare.
“The press won’t talk about it. They won’t report on it. They totally ignore it but it outweighed the protests by 10 to one,” said Donald jnr, echoing his father’s regular claims downplaying opposition towards him.
The brothers went further, castigating the media from behind the counter in Tubridy’s bar – their third stop of the night – for trying “to find the one guy who will say something bad and then he is the star of the show.”
Donald jnr said that they could not find anyone like that in Doonbeg, to cheers from the people in the pub.
Holding the American flag draped on the wall behind Tubridy’s bar, Eric said: “We came off Air Force One earlier and everywhere we looked we saw all American flags with Irish flags. That’s a beautiful thing.”
The Trump family are popular in west Clare because of the 300 jobs the Trump International group sustains at the nearby hotel and golf resort and the business it brings to suppliers, pubs and restaurants in the area.
Locals packed each of the pubs as the brothers stopped to chat to the people of Doonbeg and pose for selfies, while buying a round of drinks for every customer in each of the four bars they visited.
Donald jnr did not respond to questions from reporters as he walked between pubs about whether his father understood the complexity of the Irish Border and the Northern Irish peace process.
The questions came after the US president earlier at a press conference with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at Shannon Airport, compared Brexit fears about the return of a hard border with the US border with Mexico.
‘A brilliant night’
The two brothers made small talk with locals as they arrived with a heavy security presence of armed gardaí and US secret service agents patrolling their every move through throngs of local people hoping to greet them.
“Does Doonbeg love Trump?” Eric shouted to the crowd at Morrissey’s pub, their first stop.
“Yeah!” the crowd shouted back.