DUP MP Gregory Campbell says United States President Donald Trump has made deplorable and vile comments but is the democratically elected leader of one of the United Kingdom’s closest allies and should be welcomed during a proposed State Visit.
Mr. Campbell said: “My view is that Candidate Trump and Mr. Trump made some deplorable and vile comments, which are indefensible - they cannot be defended morally, politically or in any other way - but he is the democratically elected President of the United States of America.
“As far as I am aware, 62.9 million people voted for the now President Trump, and the electoral college system delivered the presidency to him.”
The East Derry MP made the comments at Westminster on Monday as MPs considered competing petitions, both opposing and supporting the planned visit.
During the debate Mr. Campbell suggested President Barack Obama’s presidency, far from representing the dawn of a new liberal era as had been promised by some, was instead eight more years of an establishment ignoring and patronising ordinary voters.
“Here was a man whose slogan was ‘Yes, we can’, who would introduce a radical wave of liberal ideas that would bring the United States of America well into the 21st century and would liberate and emancipate that nation state, with the great liberty that it has had for more than 200 years,” he asked.
“According to some, more than 60 million Americans, after having eight years of Obama’s presidency, elected a bigoted, misogynistic, racist, paranoid xenophobe and Islamophobe.
“How did they do that after eight years of the great liberal being in charge of the United States of America? How can otherwise rational, peaceful democrats vote for such a xenophobe?” asked Mr. Campbell.
He warned ordinary voters have become marginalised both in the United Kingdom and the United States, and warned this will probably become manifest during elections in the Netherlands, France and Germany in the months ahead.
“There is a rising up of people who have had enough of the establishment because they blame the establishment for their plight,” he said.
“It does not do for people to patronise them and say, ‘We will take account of your fears and concerns. You have perceptions - they are not really accurate, but we understand that they are your perceptions.’
“That will not wash. It did not wash in America, it did not wash with the Brexit vote and we will wait and see whether it washes in much of continental Europe. It is time the establishment - the bubble - whether in Westminster, Brussels or Washington woke up to the reality that people want to see and hear their Government and elected representatives representing them rather than simply going through the motions of establishing further bubbles and retreating into their bubble even more.
“I do not endorse some of the things President Trump has said, but he has been invited. We should ensure that that invite goes ahead and we should also say to Mr Trump, ‘Some of the things you have said are unacceptable. If you think that the pendulum has swung too far to the left, Mr Trump, please be sure that you do not allow it to swing too far to the right.’”