President Donald Trump is in Europe this week and he didn’t forget to pack his deep reservoir of understanding of global affairs. During a meeting with the Irish prime minister on Wednesday, Trump, on cue, brought up his favorite topic: walls, particularly ones that are built on the borders of nation-states. Ireland, you’ll remember, has dealt with decades of political violence over the partition of Northern Ireland from the Republic of Ireland. More recently, the possibility of a so-called hard border reemerging on the island between the two has inflamed old tensions while generating new ones, threatening to derail the U.K.’s Brexit negotiations.
Trump dealt with those delicate political and historical matters as tactfully as a presidential bowling ball during sit down meeting with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, who the Guardian described as being “visibly uncomfortable” as his country’s politics were strapped to the locomotive of the Trump Train. “I think it will all work out very well, and also for you with your wall, your border,” he said at a joint press conference. “I mean, we have a border situation in the United States, and you have one over here. But I hear it’s going to work out very well here.” The Irish prime minister quickly interjected, to be clear he and Trump were talking about the same Ireland: “One thing we want to avoid, of course, is a wall or border between us [in Ireland].”
“I think you do, I think you do,” Trump replied, totally getting it. “The way it works now is good, you want to try and to keep it that way. I know that’s a big point of contention with respect to Brexit. I’m sure it’s going to work out very well. I know they’re focused very heavily on it. … There are a lot of good minds thinking about how to do it and it’s going to be just fine. It ultimately could even be very, very good for Ireland. The border will work out.”
“The Irish government has mounted an intense, three-year diplomatic effort arguing the opposite, that Brexit threatens peace and prosperity on the island of Ireland,” the Guardian notes. “Addressing the media after Trump’s departure, Varadkar said he explained the history of the border and the Troubles in their private meeting.”
Another classic case of Trump absolutely nailing it on the first go.