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Hosting Ireland’s Prime Minister, Biden Celebrates His Irish Heritage (as He Often Does)

President Joe Biden celebrated St. Patrick’s Day this weekend with a focus on Ireland, one of his favorite subjects. Biden welcomed Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar at the White House, followed by a luncheon at the U.S. Capitol, marking a century of diplomatic relations between the two countries. The president donned a green necktie in honor of Ireland, and the Oval Office was adorned with shamrocks, symbolizing the occasion.

“May the hinge of our friendship never grow rusty,” Biden remarked to the Irish prime minister.

At the Capitol, House Speaker Mike Johnson hosted the president and Varadkar for the annual “Friends of Ireland Luncheon.” Johnson introduced Biden as “America’s most famous Irishman.” Biden utilized the platform to advocate for foreign aid, emphasizing support for Ukraine in its conflict with Russia and humanitarian assistance for Gaza.

Varadkar expressed gratitude towards the United States for its role in brokering peace between Ireland and Northern Ireland, underscored by the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. However, he also addressed the urgency of supporting Ukraine amidst the ongoing war, a topic that has faced challenges in the House.

“Ukraine must not fall, and together, we need to stand by Ukraine for as long as it takes,” Varadkar emphasized. “We look forward to working with America for the next 100 years.”

Biden’s affinity for his Irish heritage is evident, often quoting Irish poets like Seamus Heaney and delivering Irish toasts. He has consistently engaged with Irish topics in his diplomatic interactions and even spoke at a pub during his visit to Ireland last year.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau once remarked, “Joe, one thing that everybody has learned about you is that you’re a proud Irish American.”

In a nod to Democratic interests, Biden’s campaign organized a virtual event to mobilize Irish American voters. According to the Census Bureau, over 30 million people in the U.S. claim Irish ancestry, with a significant concentration in the Chicago area.

(AP Writer Darlene Superville contributed to this report.)

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