On St. Patrick’s Day, the Vice President and Second Gentleman hosted a breakfast for Ireland’s PM Leo Varadkar and his partner Matthew Barrett at the Naval Observatory.
Promptly at 8:40 am ET, Varadkar’s sleek black SUV rolled up outside the VP’s stately residence, and the duo emerged with an air of understated elegance.
With eager anticipation, the VP and Second Gentleman awaited the arrival of the guests on the front porch, both garbed in green to celebrate the day’s festivities. The sight of shamrock on the men’s breast pockets added an extra layer of Irish spirit, but the Kamala’s jacket was devoid of the emblem.
Amid warm greetings and cordial exchanges, the group retreated to the porch to capture some timeless snapshots.
Reporters, after traversing through the labyrinthine first-floor corridors of the 19th Century Queen Anne-style house that was once the domain of the Chief of Naval Operations from 1929 to 1974, entered the room where breakfast was being served. At one table sat the Vice President and PM Varadkar, while Emhoff and Barrett occupied another. Several more tables were occupied by various attendees.
From behind a lectern bearing the VP seal, Vice President Harris took to the stage to express her gratitude at welcoming Varadkar noting the “enduring” relationship between the US and Ireland. She recognized the presence of “many dignitaries” at the gathering, including Secretary of Veterans Affairs Denis McDonough.
The Vice President further remarked that it was President Biden who initiated the tradition of hosting the Taoiseach for breakfast at the VP’s residence during his tenure as VP. “This was one of his most particular joys and as you all know, he is quite exuberant in that joy and I now have caught the bug,” she said.
Ms Harris proceeded to speak about the “hard-earned and hard-won” peace made possible by the Good Friday Agreement, something that the Biden administration takes “quite” seriously.
“As President Biden has said, the Windsor framework is an essential step to ensure peace and progress and to ensure that it is strengthened,” she added before offering a St Patrick’s Day toast.
Varadkar followed with thanks to VP Harris and Emhoff for hosting him and Barrett, mentioning how he and his partner have been “inspired” as doctors and members of the LGBT community by Ms Harris’ advocacy for marriage equality during the fight over Proposition 8 and for the Affordable Care Act.
“From Stonewall to Sacramento to San Francisco, America has led the way when it comes to LGBT equality. I don’t think I would be here today were it not for what America did,” he remarked. He also highlighted how Ireland is implementing programs similar to the ACA, including “abolishing hospital charges,” “capping the cost of prescription medicines,” and “abolishing Doctor fees” for children and seniors.
Then PM then went on to mention the “many anniversaries” that Ireland will be celebrating in 2023, including the Good Friday Agreement and joining the EU.
“For Ireland, however, one relationship has endured throughout- our close and deep bond with these United States, and we’re always grateful for that,” he said, adding that the US played a pivotal role in the peace process “at critical points when few others had the influence to do so.”
Varadkar presented the VP with an Irish silver bell “as a token of our appreciation and an emblem of the principles that our countries hold dear, Peace and Freedom.” On the Good Friday Agreement, he mentioned how the Windsor Framework with the EU “has the potential to restore very good relations between Ireland and the UK and to restore the relations and institutions of the Good Friday Agreement” and open a new chapter in EU-UK relations.
“We’re not quite there yet, but I think with good faith on all sides, we’ll have that and the help of our… friends here in America,” he stated. Regarding Ukraine, he emphasized that “we stand with them for as long as it takes. Russia’s war is a threat to the international order on which we all rely. It’s an affront to human decency. And we work together to hold these perpetrators to account.”
As the event came to a close, Kamala Harris did not respond to a shouted question about reports of Ron DeSantis watching a prisoner being tortured when he served as a Navy lawyer at Guantanamo Bay.
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