Gay Irish Prime Minister Welcomed at White House for St. Patrick’s Day
President Joe Biden welcomed Ireland’s gay prime minister, known as the Taoiseach, to the White House on St. Patrick’s Day on Friday.
In a meeting between the countries that had been postponed due to the pandemic, the two leaders spoke about the historic bonds between the two countries, according to the Associated Press. Biden also recognized on the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday agreement, which assisted in ending the conflict, called the Troubles, over whether Northern Ireland would separate from the United Kingdom and join Ireland.
Biden also gifted Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Ireland’s first gay head of government, a bowl of shamrocks, which the AP notes has been a tradition since 1952.
The president greeted Varadkar with dyed water in the South Lawn fountain green.
While meeting Biden, Varadkar praised the U.S. for helping Ukraine after Russia invaded the country last year. Biden is expected to soon visit Ireland. When that happens, Varadkar said, “We’re going to roll out the red carpet.”
Varadkar and his partner, Matthew Barrett, had breakfast earlier on Friday with Vice President Kamala Harris and second gentleman Doug Emhoff. At the vice president’s house, the Irish leader praised the U.S. on its history of LGBTQ+ rights.
“From Stonewall to Sacramento to San Francisco. America has led the way when it comes to LGBT equality,” he said. “I don’t think I would be here today were it not for what America did.”
St. Patrick’s Day is an annual celebration at the White House. A lunch at the Capitol has been bringing Democrats and Republicans together for a meal for a few decades.
Friday evening saw former One Director star Niall Horan perform as well as a bagpipe performance, according to CNN.
Varadkar is also the first person of color to lead Ireland. He became prime minister in 2017, serving until 2020. He became prime minister again in December of last year.