In October the SDLP leader Colum Eastwood said that his party would boycott any White House function under a Donald Trump presidency.
It might be that Mr Eastwood thought back then that Mr Trump would not in fact make it to the Oval Office – after all, the polls were showing a clear lead for Hillary Clinton, and her Republican Party opponent had just been damaged by revelations of a tape in which he made sexist comments about women.
Mr Eastwood said he would “not give any support to such an administration, founded on bigotry” and added: “It is incumbent on other Irish and Irish American politicians to make similar declarations.”
Mr Eastwood was either displaying high political principle, and is prepared to press ahead with a boycott in the event of a Trump victory and a subsequent SDLP invite to the White House for St Patrick’s Day, or naivete (ie failing to realise that Mr Trump might win, or, on the other hand, assuming an SDLP boycott would bother a leader of 300 million people).
Mr Eastwood was further made to look foolish when people such as the commentator Ruth Dudley Edwards reminded us of his willingness to meet with dissident terrorists. However, Mr Eastwood is at least consistent in his approach to Mr Trump.
Sinn Fein is much more cynical, however. It, supposedly a party of the left, was not critical of Mr Trump after his surprise win in November. Sinn Fein knew that Mr Trump had significant support in Irish America.
Now Michelle O’Neill is saying that the executive, which included her predecessor Martin McGuinness, should not have invited Mr Trump to Northern Ireland. How typical and slippery of that party and how ridiculous it (and she) looks.
Unionists have an opportunity to remind Irish Americans of such inconsistency and grandstanding against their president.
And to remind Trump officials that we too have faced a long battle against terrorism.