Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny met with President Obama for a belated White House St. Patrick’s Day celebration, but first the visiting taoiseach had to get through breakfast with Joe Biden.
“VPOTUS seems to have an inexhaustible supply of Irish sayings,” the foreign pool reporter from The Irish Times noted.
“We should do this every year; celebrate St Patrick’s Day twice!” Biden said in the dining room at his residence. “You are proof of what my grandmother said, that Irishmen would rather talk than eat!”
“They say a man’s always fortunate to have Irish friends,” he said. “They’re never above you. They’re never below you. They’re always beside you.”
Biden then recounted an old New Yorker cartoon, showing Pat and Mike having a pint in New York. “Don’t you wish you were in a pub in Dublin, wishing you were in a pub in New York?” Pat says to Mike. The guests laughed.
“Taoiseach, that’s all you need to know about us American Irish,” Biden said. “Our families told us that we Irish are bound together by common values of family, courage and hope, always hope. We found ourselves in situations many times of needing hope.”
The breakfast included a sampling of Irish Washington: Sens. Pat Leahy (D-Vt.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Bob Casey (D-Pa.); former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen and current chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey; counterterrorism adviser John Brennan; and MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell and Chris Matthews.
“The thing I love about you old buddy is you’re always optimistic,” Biden said to Kenny. “You’re always optimistic. That’s the Irish.”
He offered a toast, quipping, “You’re not supposed to do this with water!”
“May you all look back on your past with as much pleasure as you look to the future,” Biden said.
For his part, the taoiseach’s remarks focused on how much he respects America’s role in global security and the economic situation in the European Union.