New Irish Prime Minister Willing to Work with Trump

Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar on the cover of the European edition of Time magazine.

By Adam Farley, Deputy Editor
August / September 2017

Leo Varadkar made history in June when he was elected taoiseach, becoming the first openly gay prime minister of Ireland as well as the first prime minister of Indian heritage and the youngest ever elected. Varadkar, a member of Fine Gael and a fiscal conservative, seeks to become another centrist face of the European Union, à la French Prime Minister Emmanuel Macron, a friend to corporate interests and open to multilateral trade and migration.

In an interview with the European edition of Time magazine, Varadkar also said he hoped to forge a relationship with American president Donald Trump and maintain the friendship of the two countries.

Recalling a time when he served as Irish Minister for Tourism when Trump called him directly regarding his golf course in County Clare, Varadkar noted that he recognized Trump operates more like a CEO.

“I get the impression he is the kind of person who would just pick up the phone and want to ring the man or woman who is in charge over there, rather than necessarily going through normal business or diplomatic procedures,” he said. “There are pluses and minuses to that.”

Elaborating, Varadkar expressed a sympathy with this tactic. “In many ways I actually like that approach, because you know traditional civil service and diplomatic approaches can be all about hierarchies, and sometimes the principals just need to talk and sort it out,” he said.

“He is very much a CEO rather than a politician and it might be possible once you have developed a relationship with him to resolve issues that officials and diplomats might spend years exchanging papers on. So I think the first thing is to try to develop a relationship.” ♦

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