Northern Ireland news

Ex-councillor Jolene Bunting launches 'Ulster-Scots for Trump' trailer campaign

US president Donald Trump and former Belfast councillor Jolene Bunting
Brendan Hughes

A CONTROVERSIAL unionist ex-councillor has launched an online crowdfunder for supporters of re-electing US president Donald Trump to tour Ulster with a trailer.

Jolene Bunting encouraged her Twitter followers to donate to the 'Ulster-Scots for Trump' campaign.

"A group of Northern Ireland-based Trump supporters have come together to show our support for Donald J Trump in the run-up to the 2020 election," the online donations page reads.

They are planning a "trailer campaign" in which "in good auld Ulster-Scots style we will travel the length and breadth of the Ulster showing our support for President Trump".

The campaign is seeking £1,650 to cover costs including a trailer, tow bar, fuel, flags, placards and 'Make America Great Again' hats.

It says that for centuries "Ulster-Scots have helped to shape the American way of life" and the "Ulster-Scots diaspora can make the difference in the 2020 presidential election".

"Ulster-Scots/Scots-Irish can help re-elect President Trump," it adds.

The crowdfunding page includes an email address for further enquiries under the name of Wayne Cummings, who is Ms Bunting's partner.

Last year the pair joined a small group of pro-Trump supporters in a counter-demonstration to a protest in Belfast against the US president's visit to Ireland.

Among those who attended the counter-demonstration was Jayda Fransen, former deputy leader of the far-right group Britain First.

Ms Bunting, who has previously caused controversy over her involvement with Britain First, lost her seat on Belfast City Council in last year's council elections.

She was elected in 2014 as a TUV candidate but left the party in 2017 and had continued as an independent unionist.

Her tweets in recent days have included a video promoting coronavirus conspiracy theories.

In 2018, she received a four-month interim suspension from the local government standards commissioner pending the outcome of an investigation into 14 complaints against her.

They included comments she made on a video outside the Belfast Islamic Centre, and her participation at a Britain First rally in the city.

A judge dismissed her appeal and found the action was merited, ruling that Ms Bunting's public alignment with anti-Islamic speeches went beyond enhanced legal protection for political expression.

The US presidential election is to take place on November 3.

The Republican Party's Mr Trump has been lagging behind Democrat challenger Joe Biden in opinion polls, although some have tightened in recent weeks.

The US president is pushing a campaign message of "law and order" following violence flaring at anti-racism protests, but Mr Biden has accused Mr Trump of stoking racial division.

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