Varadkar praises Trump over ‘booming economy’
Leo Varadkar described US military power as ‘unrivalled’.
The Irish premier has told US President Donald Trump that he can see the results of his ambitions to “make America great again”.
Speaking at the traditional shamrock presentation at the White House, Leo Varadkar described US military power as “unrivalled”.
During the annual event, the Taoiseach presented the US president with a bowl of shamrock to mark his St Patrick’s visit to Washington DC.
The bowl presented to Mr Trump, in the company of his wife, Melania, was made at Kilkenny Crystal in Callan, the home town of Irish-American architect James Hoban.
LIVE: President Trump Participates in the Shamrock Bowl Presentation by the Prime Minister of Ireland https://t.co/CU2S1osAlU— The White House (@WhiteHouse) March 14, 2019
Mr Hoban designed both Leinster House in Dublin and the president’s official residence, the White House.
Mr Varadkar said: “The American economy is booming. More jobs. Rising incomes. Exactly what you said you’d do.
“However, I believe the greatness of America is about more than economic prowess and military might.
“It is rooted in the things that make us love America – your people, your values, a new nation conceived in liberty. The land and the home of the brave and the free.”
The Taoiseach added that the futures of the US and Ireland were entwined.
“I believe that future generations of our citizens should have the same opportunity to enrich one another’s societies as past generations have,” he said.
Mr Trump, who was joined on stage by US vice president Mike Pence, said that millions of Americans across the country celebrate the “inspiring” Irish people on St Patrick’s Day.
He also welcomed the Taoiseach’s partner Matt Barrett, who also attended the event.
Mr Trump added: “I know many Irish people and they are inspiring, they’re sharp, they’re smart, they’re great and they are brutal enemies so you have to keep them as your friend. Always keep them as your friend.
“You don’t want to fight with the Irish, it’s too tough, it’s too bloody.”
He reminded the crowd that the shamrock tradition began almost 70 years ago when Ireland’s first ambassador to the United States, John Hearne, gave then US president Harry Truman a small box of it.
He added that he accepted the gift as a symbol of America’s “enduring friendship” with Ireland.
“The Irish are confident and fearless. They never give up, they never give in,” he added.
The event marked the end of Mr Varadkar’s trip to Washington DC before he travels to Chicago on Friday for the second part of his St Patrick’s trip.