As the Irish Taoiseach welcomed the 2023 class of the Washington Ireland Program, some two decades after he served in the office of congressman Jack Quinn via the same program, Leo Varadkar said he believed he was looking at the leaders of the future, and urged them to enjoy the city which prepared him to begin the political career which has seen him twice lead his country. So far, so platitudinous.
The Taoiseach, on a rooftop just across a lawn from the US Capitol, joked about the fact that he interned in the last year of the Clinton presidency “when parents might have had cause for concern about what happened to interns” in the city. Varadkar made the comment just two hours after meeting Hillary, and after he had confirmed the Clintons would visit Northern Ireland next month to mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, which Bill Clinton was pivotal in securing. The Irish press has gone to town on the clanger.
Irish politicians value their US relationship dearly and always exploit St Patrick’s Day as an opportunity to visit the White House. Even more so with President Joe Biden self-identifying as Irish. He will also meet Vice President Kamala Harris. Which will see two people of Indian descent in positions of power meet to celebrate St Patrick’s Day!