US president Donald Trump has threatened to slam new tariffs on the EU unless it changes its trade policies with Washington, writes Juno McEnroe in Washington DC.
Welcoming Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to the White House, Mr Trump confirmed that he would travel to Ireland and that he would also consider appointing a new US peace envoy to the North,
Taking questions from the Irish media about Brexit and trade, Mr Trump said he did not think that the UK should have a second referendum ass he criticised the handling of the vote outcome.
He said the EU was “unwilling to negotiate” with the previous Obama administration.
“They are willing to talk to us and if they don’t talk us and if they don’t talk to us we are going to do something that is pretty severe economically, we are going to tariff a lot of their products coming in because the European Union treats us very very unfairly, I have to say that.”
Mr Trump also confirmed he would “coming at some point” during the year to Ireland. He had “a warm spot for Dunbeg” and Ireland was a special place.
Earlier, US vice president Mike Pence confirmed he was also making plans to visit Ireland.
Mr Trump answered a number of questions around Brexit, trade, the next presidential election and his emigration policies.
He also said that he would consider appointing a new peace envoy to the North. When asked about the Irish Examiner about this, he responded:
“We may very well be doing that.”
Mr Varadkar told the president that the two differed on Brexit and that he wanted to speak to Mr Trump about the Good Friday Agreement among other issues.
Mr Varadkar also thanked the president for intervening in protecting jobs in a factory in the west of Ireland and saving hundreds of jobs when sanctions against Russia previously threatened its closure.