The Taoiseach’s controversial comments about former US President Bill Clinton have put a shadow over his visit to the White House today.
Leo Varadkar is due to meet current President Joe Biden later today as part of the annual St Patrick’s Day visit.
Last night, he issued an apology to Bill Cliton and his wife Hillary for comments he made at an event organised by the Washington Ireland Programme, a group which organises internships for Irish people on Capitol Hill.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar recalling he was an intern in Washington in the last year of Bill Clinton’s Presidency
“When some parents would have had cause for concern about what would happen to interns in Washington”….👀 pic.twitter.com/YfAENR5DMn
— Seán Defoe (@SeanDefoe) March 16, 2023
Mr Varadkar is arguably the group’s biggest success story, having interned in the year 2000 before going on to become Taoiseach.
He told the crowd his internship year was the last of Bill Clinton’s tenure before going on to suggest it was a time when parents had to be worried for children who were interning on Capitol Hill.
While Mr Varadkar was interning, Clinton’s presidency was engulfed in controversy over his relationship with intern Monica Lewinsky.
Last night, the Taoiseach apologised for his comments, saying it was an ill-judged off-the-cuff remark.
A spokesperson for the Taoiseach said: “At the Washington Ireland Program event today the Taoiseach was reminiscing about his time in Washington DC as an intern 23 years ago.
“He made an ill-judged, off-the-cuff remark which he regrets.
“He apologises for any offence caused to anyone concerned.”
“It’s something many countries are rightly envious of.”
The Taoiseach will meet US President Joe Biden in the White House this afternoon – but where did the annual #StPatricksDay tradition come from?
— NewstalkFM (@NewstalkFM) March 17, 2023
Mr Varadkar had met with Hillary Clinton just hours earlier at an event marking 25 years of the Good Friday agreement.
The controversy has overshadowed the Taoiseach’s meeting with President Biden at the White House later today.
The leaders are expected to discuss Good Friday Agreement, Ukraine and trade, as well as President Biden's upcoming visit to Ireland.
Bill and Hillary Clinton are both due to accompany President Biden on the trip.