Irish Prime Minister Visits White House Adorned For St. Paddy’s Day

 

Once again, the president of the United States and the prime minister of Ireland got together for St. Patrick’s Day.

This year, as Prime Minister Enda Kenny met with newly-elected President Donald Trump, Kenny sported a large splash of greenery on the front of his jacket.

The meeting took place at the White House on Thursday, before the Friends of Ireland luncheon on Capitol Hill.

 

Following Kenny’s lead, Vice President Mike Pence and members of the cabinet were similarly adorned.

Tradition holds that as a symbol of the bond between Ireland and the U.S., the president is presented with a bowl of shamrocks from the Irish premier.

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The tradition stemmed from a small gesture in 1952, when President Harry S. Truman received a small box of three-leaf clovers from John Hearne, Ireland’s ambassador to the U.S.

Kenny had been urged to boycott this year’s event as a protest against Trump’s temporary travel ban aimed at certain Muslim-majority countries with large-scale terrorism problems, but tradition prevailed.

The president was effusive about Kenny, Ireland and the Irish:

“That’s my new friend; he’s my new friend. Great guy,” Trump said. “We love Ireland and we love the people of Ireland.”

 

During his meeting with Trump, Kenny reaffirmed the friendship between the two countries.

“Ireland and the European Union will never be anything but a friend to your country, to these United States here,” said Kenny.

Kenny also took advantage of the visit to address the effect of Trump’s immigration policies on approximately 50,000 Irish citizens currently residing illegally in the United States.

“We would like this to be sorted,” he told Trump. “It would remove a burden of so many people that they can stand out in the light and say, ‘Now I am free to contribute to America as I know I can.’ And that’s what people want.”

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