President Joe Biden on St. Patrick’s Day stirred up an Irish stereotype that drinking is rife on the Emerald Isle as he delivered remarks on Friday at the US Capitol during a luncheon with political leaders.
The President, while speaking at the annual gathering of Friends of Ireland, recalled that he had been to Ireland, saying that he had been to the country several times but had gone on one particular occasion to find his “virtual family members”.
“There were a lot more,” Biden quipped, “and they weren’t actually in jail.”
The chief said he had been in Ireland for about a week before he pointed out that some of his relatives, Finnegans, were from County Louth and “If you go to County Louth, there’s still a place called Finnegans pub, I bet that’s connected with my family.”C-span
Biden, who has He said He doesn’t drink, jokingly adding, “I’m the only Irishman I’ve met although this one hasn’t drunk before, so I’m fine. I’m not really Irish.”
The president’s remarks came during a traditional 1980s lunch that began with President Ronald Reagan and Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill.
This year’s luncheon was attended by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, as well as former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Rep. Richard Neal (D-Massachusetts) and former Rep. Joe Kennedy III. (D-MA), who is now the US Special Envoy to Northern Ireland.
Biden and McCarthy, who are both of Irish descent, made numerous references to their backgrounds during their remarks. McCarthy recited an Irish blessing while Biden quoted poet Seamus Heaney.
“I am, like all of you, proud of my Irish ancestry, and for as long as I can remember it has been a part of my soul, and how I grew up,” Biden said.
While the event was lighthearted, both leaders foreshadowed the expected debt-ceiling battle, and McCarthy pointed to the “special” relationship between Reagan and O’Neill as evidence that the duo of contemporary president and speaker could find common ground despite their current positions. Unlike.
“When they had financial problems, they found a way to come together,” McCarthy said. “They were always breaking bread, sharing some Guinness, fighting hard for their personal beliefs, and at the end of the day America was stronger for it, and it’s unique that we’re here again after 40 years.”
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