Arlene Foster: Those who promise boycott of Trump White House ‘care little about working for NI’

First Minister Arlene Foster
First Minister Arlene Foster

Countless words will be written in the coming days about Donald Trump’s election. He defied the odds and the pollsters in securing both nomination as the Republican candidate and then to become head of state of the most powerful country in the world.

To achieve this having never held any elected office before and winning an election against someone with the profile and political pedigree of Hillary Clinton underscores the scale of what Mr Trump has achieved.

As a small region, Northern Ireland will not be top of the Presidential agenda, but we have strong historic, economic and political ties to the United States.

I look forward to working with Donald Trump’s administration wherever possible to build on those ties.

Those who are now forced to follow through with the stunt of promising to boycott the Trump White House highlight how little they really care about working for the good of Northern Ireland.

That so few will even notice their absence is a demonstration of their political irrelevance.

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There were many criticisms levelled at both candidates during this election, and there would be few who could stand over a great deal of the rhetoric deployed during the campaign.

What has been particularly disturbing however was not the vilification and demonisation of Donald Trump as a candidate, but the vitriol levelled against the many people across the United States who supported him.

The vast majority of those people were ordinary men and women who want their country to succeed and want a better future for their families.

They share the same hopes, aspirations, fears and anxieties as countless others in many other countries.

There is little surprise that Donald Trump himself drew parallels with Brexit.

Whether or not the analogy is perfect, there is little doubt that some parallels exist.

Just has there have been in the United Kingdom, there may well be those who will spend time wishing the result of the US election had been different, but the will of the American people cannot and should not be ignored.

As the United Kingdom leaves the European Union, it is obviously important that the special relationship between the UK and the USA is built upon to benefit the security and prosperity of both nations.

The challenges facing Donald Trump as he enters the White House are great, just as they are for anyone who takes on such a significant role.

We do not know exactly what his plans will be, but there will be a change of emphasis and focus in areas such as trade and foreign policy.

The first comments from Mr Trump after his election was confirmed have been positive in terms of a desire to foster positive relations in terms of both trade and diplomacy.

As 2016 draws to a close there can be little doubt that it will be remembered as a year of huge political change.

Whatever the views anyone had about the Presidential election campaign, we should all wish President Trump well in the task that lies ahead.