For the love o’ Ireland–there’s a wee bit o’ anger about!
White House spokesman Judd Deere announced on Sunday that President Trump will not attend a St. Patrick’s Day luncheon hosted by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday. The statement reported by Politico left no doubt about the ongoing rancor that exists in Washington and the disdain the president has for Pelosi.
“Since the Speaker has chosen to tear this Nation apart with her actions and her rhetoric, the President will not participate in moments where she so often chooses to drive discord and disunity, and will instead celebrate the rich history and strong ties between the United States and Ireland at the White House on March 12,” Deere said in a statement. “The relationship between our two countries has never been stronger, and the President looks forward to welcoming the Prime Minister of Ireland for the annual Shamrock Bowl presentation.”
The luncheon hosted by the speaker has been a tradition since 1983 when Tip O’Neill invited Ronald Reagan to the Capitol for lunch. In the 37 years since, presidents have missed the lunch four times, with their vice president sitting in for them. But Vice President Mike Pence is not scheduled to attend this year’s event.
Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill released a patently cherubic response, saying: “There has never been stronger support in the Congress and in the country for the U.S.-Ireland bilateral relationship. One would think that the White House could set petty, partisan politics aside for this historic occasion.”
The traditional lunch centers on a visit by Ireland’s Taoiseach (Prime Minister) who comes to Washington for the annual presentation of the Shamrock Bowl. Taoseich Leo Varadkar will present the bowl–a symbol of friendship between Ireland and the United States–to President Trump at the White House.
The Shamrock Bowl gift dates back to 1952 when Ireland’s ambassador to the U.S., John Hearne, sent a small bowl of shamrocks to President Harry Truman. Truman subsequently replied, saying that he hoped “relations between the two countries will continue to be on a good and effective level for generations.”
The friendship between the two countries has indeed remained strong. However, the animus between Trump and Pelosi is hardening with time, since the speaker launched the bogus impeachment inquiry in September.
In October, Pelosi and other top Democrats stormed out of a meeting on Syria at the White House.
The only other time since then in which the president and speaker have had the displeasure of crossing paths was in February when Pelosi childishly tore up Trump’s speech after his State of the Union address and the president refused to shake Pelosi’s hand.
The White House statement about Pelosi choosing “to tear this Nation apart with her actions and her rhetoric,” is spot on. Given the animosity between the right and left in America today, it is indeed wise to try to keep St. Patrick’s Day and the Irish prime minister’s visit free of partisan backbiting by the left.
In so doing, Americans wearing and drinking the green on Tuesday can focus on their celebrations.
Until then …
May you have warm words on a cold evening,
A full moon on a dark night,
And the road downhill all the way to your door.
— an Irish blessing
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