The resistance is real. Entities across all genres, from Dictionary.com, now to Ireland’s Prime Minister, are standing up to the racist, hateful, exclusionary, and white nationalist policies of the Trump administration.
At Thursday’s Friends of Ireland luncheon, Irish Prime Minister (or Taoiseach, which is his formal title), Enda Kenny took Trump to school about American values around immigration, embracing diversity, and the contributions of immigrants to American culture, throughout history. For, it’s in this same spirit of immigration that Trump’s own family found their way to America.
Alluding to the disgraceful and exclusive nature of Trump’s Muslim Ban and the wall between Mexico Kenny boldly asserted:
‘There are millions out there who want to play their part for America — if you like, who want to make America great.’
The New York Times reports that as Mr. Kenny made the comment and allusion to Trump’s campaign slogan, he shot Trump an intentional gaze. Kenny added something of a burn and confirmed that he meant what he was saying by rhetorically closing that statement by asking:
‘You heard that before?’
The Times further reports that although Mr. Kenny never overtly referred to Trump’s wall plans or the Muslim ban, his comments resonated and were clearly understood by those in attendance. Kenny did, however, clearly address the matter of the approximately 50,000 Irish people living in the U.S. and are undocumented. Because, while Latinx and Muslim individuals are being deported, detained, and otherwise subjected to unfair treatment, there has been little talk of the people from other places who are in America without documentation.
Kenny went on to make his case saying:
‘We would like this to be sorted. It would remove a burden of so many that they could now stand in the light and say, “Now I’m free to contribute to America as I know I can.” That’s what people want.’
In an unexpected move, Kenny took his sincerity to another level, becoming a bit emotional, says The Times. Overwhelmed by his own words, Kenny reminded Trump and other attendees about the reason why people come to America:
‘All they want is the opportunity to be free.’
With that comment, Kenny changed the climate of what has historically been a jovial gathering. However, Kenny’s comments are needed and Trump needs to hear from those he claims he wants to partner with.
The Times writes that past visits from Kenny for St. Patrick’s Day has included jabs at former Vice-President Biden about his long-winded ways or former President Obama’s tradition of toasting the Taoiseach with water. The culture of American isn’t one that is a joke right now, and Kenny showed how astute he is to that fact when he used Thursday to take the luncheon a direction it doesn’t typically go in to make some much-needed political statements around diversity, inclusion, and equity.
Mr. Kenny isn’t new to holding Trump accountable. During the campaign, The Times reports that Kenny called Trump’s words “racist and dangerous.” Moreover, it’s Donald Trump’s lack of popularity in Ireland that led to calls for Mr. Kenny to sit out from this year’s visit to D.C.
It’s highly unlikely that Trump fully understood Mr. Kenny’s point, but the point was made and nothing can take that back.
Featured Image via Getty/Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Stringer