Northern Irish Politicians Criticized for Donald Trump Re-Election Banner

Three Northern Irish MPs have been criticized for being photographed with a Donald Trump "Keep America Great" banner outside the Houses of Parliament.

East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson tweeted the image with himself and two other MPs Ian Paisley and Paul Girvan, all part of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), with "Keep America Great" and a handshake emoji between the U.S. and U.K. flags.

The fourth person is unknown.

The DUP was formerly in an agreement with the ruling Conservative government before the last election.

Ulster Unionist Party MLA (Member of the Legislative Assembly) Doug Beattie said he "cringed" when he saw the image for the first time.

Keep America Great! 🇬🇧🤝🇺🇸

— Sammy Wilson MP (@eastantrimmp) September 2, 2020

"People can of course support whoever they want for the U.S. presidency, but to see three MPs giving the thumbs-up while holding a Trump banner personally makes me cringe," Mr. Beattie said.

Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) MP Claire Hanna said: "This is a clear attempt at attention-seeking by Sammy Wilson."

She said that Donald Trump was a "backward, racist and destructive president" but that people could make up their own minds as to whether Irish politicians should be supporting him.

Newsweek has contacted the DUP press office for a comment.

Mr. Paisley, a former DUP leader, has been public about his support for Trump in the past, even going as far as to say they were "good friends" and Trump has a picture of Paisley and his late father in his office.

In 2018, Paisley spoke to the president to ask him to visit Northern Ireland.

"I spoke to him 10 days ago and personally issued that invitation," Paisley told the BBC at the time.

"[Trump] has indicated to me personally that it is his intention to visit. I look forward to welcoming him and to seeing him, hopefully in County Antrim."

Paisley did visit the White House that year, the "only person from NI to be invited to a private family reception" he said, during the St. Patrick's Day celebrations.

Donald Trump discussed his views on Northern Ireland during his first official visit to the Republic of Ireland in 2019, where he said: "Ireland is going to be in great shape, Ireland is a special place that's going to be in very good shape."

He also compared the Republic of Ireland's border with Northern Ireland after Brexit to the Mexican border with the U.S., where he is working to build a permanent wall to try and limit crossing from undocumented migrants.