Monday 14 October 2019

'Celebrating the many wonderful traditions of Ireland' - Melania Trump shares photos of Taoiseach's White House visit

Donald and Melania Trump greeting Leo Varadkar and his partner Matt Barrett at the White House
Photo: Melania Trump/Twitter
Donald and Melania Trump greeting Leo Varadkar and his partner Matt Barrett at the White House Photo: Melania Trump/Twitter
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

US First Lady Melania Trump has shared photographs of Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s visit to the White House.

They include pictures of herself and President Donald Trump greeting Mr Varadkar and his partner Matt Barrett.

Mrs Trump wrote: “Yesterday Prime Minister Leo Varadkar visited the White House to honor St Patrick’s Day⁠. Thank you for joining us in celebrating the many wonderful traditions of Ireland!”

The traditional shamrock ceremony was held in the White House East Room on Thursday night.

Earlier Mr Barrett attended the annual breakfast with Christian conservative vice-President Mike Pence who has been criticised in the past for his views on LGBT issues.

Mr Varadkar, one of the few openly gay world leaders, delivered a speech where he outlined how the United States inspired him to run for office and drive change in Ireland.

He said he once lived in a country where if he had been himself he would have been breaking laws.

Now he’s leader of a country where that has changed.

He said: “I stand here this morning as leader of my country, flawed and human, but judged on my political actions and mistakes and not on my sexual orientation or my skin tone”.

He also said: “We are all God’s children”.

Mr Varadkar said Ireland is not the only country where his story was possible and it’s true of the US as well.

Mr Pence said Mr Varadkar had offered “Inspiring words”.

Mr Varadkar was asked if his speech came up in conversation with Mr Pence afterwards.

"We didn't really discuss the speech but we had a good chat afterwards on different issues and I had the chance to meet him again in the White House."

He added: "Obviously we have very different views on social policy but I think the best way to manage these things is to engage with people rather than boycotting them and that's what I intend to do."

Mr Varadkar said he met other members of Mr Pence's family and "They are very nice people and certainly have made me feel welcome when I have been in DC."

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