Gavin Robinson: I didn’t back Trump, but he has made a conciliatory start

Gavin Robinson vividly denouncing Donald Trump in Parliament in January, but upholding his right to visit the UK, a speech which was reported globally
Gavin Robinson vividly denouncing Donald Trump in Parliament in January, but upholding his right to visit the UK, a speech which was reported globally

Trump – business mogul, reality star, extrovert... but Mr President Elect? Who’d have thought it?!

It was a roller coaster of an election, from the party primaries to the ‘home straight’ and without doubt, the one confounding constant throughout it all was that Trump constantly confounded.

The press, pundits, pollsters all called it wrong. Perhaps more enjoyably, the liberal elite who struggle with the notion some people simply don’t see the world the way they do are still in a state of mourning.

Last week in Parliament, the Brexit Secretary David Davis continually paraphrased the old saying, “there are none so blind as those who will not see” and in the wake of Trump’s success, I don’t think there is a more apt conclusion to the coverage we’ve heard for months and months on end.

Hispanics will never vote for him, they cried. Yet 29% did. Those second and third generation Latin American immigrants who liked what they heard. They struggled and they strived, so why shouldn’t the immigration laws apply to those who follow – just as it did for them?

For that 29%, there was no racism in Trump’s policy...but did you hear that in the media? Not a chance.

We were assured that as a sexual predator, no woman would ever vote for him. Yet 43% did. Did you ever get that sense during the election? No, you didn’t.

Yet, no matter how stereotypically simplistic the critical coverage of Trump was, it was never going to overcome the easily understood commitment Trump offered to those who seek jobs, want better prospects for themselves personally, their family and their community.

Cards on the table, I would never have cast a vote for Trump. Back in January, I took part in a debate in Parliament about banning Trump from visiting the UK.
I was against such a ban, but didn’t shy away from criticism and as a result, got scores of charming emails abusing me as “Christian hating, Muslim Loving-----” Imagine!

At that time, I said “We as a country should be proud of our values, which we would like to see throughout the world. Confront him. Challenge him and confound him into recognising that what he outlines may get headlines and may change the nature of political discourse in the United States or across the world, but it is bad policy and would change the nature, the image and the reputation of the United States irrevocably from that created by the founding fathers and by those who have built up so much over the past three centuries.”

I think he knows that. His conciliatory acceptance speech on Wednesday should hopefully reflect the persona of the President he plans to become.

A strong Congress will constrain his more flamboyant style but if he ends up going head to head with his Republican colleagues, make no mistake about it.

They will frustrate what will surely become the oddest Presidency in history.

* Gavin Robinson is DUP MP for East Belfast