This White House visit was another success for Ireland. It featured poetry, flags and an Irish performance by Niall Horan.
“Every American president is a bit Irish on St Patrick’s Day…but there are some more Irish than others.” Leo Varadkar spoke those words to be met with raucous applause in the White House and a wide grin from Joe Biden who was “unmistakably” a son of Ireland.
The Taoiseach was correct. Joe Biden, the second American Catholic Irish president after JFK is undoubtedly proudest of his Irish heritage. He said that his grandfather was Irish and that he believed that.
It can be easy for Irish journalists to take everything for granted each year. The Oval Office, Irish flags, songs and poetry… an outpouring love and warmth towards a small country at the margins of Europe.
This kind of access to the most powerful office is rare, and the influence it has on the government and diplomats of Ireland is well known. Varadkar expressed his gratitude to the president for America’s support regarding Brexit.
Proud Irish-American from Counties Mayo, Louth, he spoke repeatedly about his support for the Windsor Framework. This subtly increased the pressure on Jeffrey Donaldson, the leader of the DUP to accept the deal.
Biden did not provide any details on his planned trip to Ireland or Northern Ireland as many expected. Dates are not yet known.
This was another diplomatic victory for the Irish. The US president was seen wrapping his arm around Mullingar heartthrob Niall Horan and praising the Irish rugby team. He also expressed his gratitude for England’s Grand Slam win and spoke in the most sentimental manner about the aul sod.
Leo Varadkar will travel home knowing that the interests of Ireland are being protected in particular by this White House.