12:25 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you, Father, very much. It’s a great honor to be here. This is my third one. It’s happening so fast. Who would have thought? The first I remember, the second I remember very well, and this is third. So, time flies.
But, Madam Speaker, I want to thank you very much for that — those lovely remarks. And congratulations on the Irish grandchildren. (Laughter.) That’s pretty good.
Also, I want to thank our Vice President, Mike Pence, who’s with us today. (Applause.) To all of the distinguished members of Congress, of which we actually have many, and our many wonderful Irish friends, as we begin our celebration of St. Patrick’s Day.
This afternoon, we’re delighted to join all in welcoming Taoiseach, who I’ve gotten to know very well. My friend. We discussed a lot of things that were of great interest to all of us just a little while ago in the Oval Office. In particular, we talked about Brexit, a — something that’s turning out to be a little more complex than they thought it would be. But it will all work out. Everything does. One way or the other, it’s going to work out. But you had a very interesting view on it, and I appreciate your letting me know what’s going on over there. Very, very tough situation.
I also want to thank Ireland’s Ambassador, Daniel Mulhall. Thank you very much, Daniel. I appreciate it. And the entire Irish delegation for being with us today.
The United States and Ireland are bound together by ties of both kinship and friendship. It’s really a great friendship. It’s a friendship like rarely does any country have with another. Our citizens share an abiding love of faith, family, and freedom. Today, our relationship is as strong and resilient as the great Irish people are strong and resilient.
Since America’s founding, men and women of Irish descent have strengthened our nation beyond measure. In every war since the American Revolution, Irish Americans have fought with distinction to win our independence, to preserve our union, and defend our way of life. And nobody has done it like the Irish. They do it with flair. They do it with brilliance. They’ve moved our hearts with timeless works of art, literature, and music.
Irish Americans have also answered the call to serve our nation at the highest levels of government. And you look at the United States Supreme Court, you look in the halls of Congress, and throughout my administration: A lot of Irish. They’re all over the place. Right, Mike? (Laughter.) As an example, Mike, you have your sister, Annie, here today. Where is Annie? Annie, very nice to have you. That’s very good. (Applause.) And you’re serious Irish. That’s what I’m hearing. (Laughter.) Anyway, nice to have you, Annie. Thank you.
Many members of Congress in the room also trace their roots to Ireland, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Kevin, thank you very much. What a good job you’re doing. How’s he doing, Nancy? Okay? (Laughter.) Huh? You have a little advantage. She has a little advantage, but that’s okay. But he’s doing okay. (Laughter.) Good. Thank you, Kevin, very much.
Senator Pat Leahy. Patrick, thank you very much. Appreciate it. And co-chairs of the Friends of Ireland Caucus, Richie Neal and Peter King. Richie, thank you very much. Where’s Peter? Where is Peter? Peter, thank you very much. We see each other here and lots of other places. And you’re doing a great job. Thank you very much, Peter.
REPRESENTATIVE KING: (Inaudible) from Queens.
THE PRESIDENT: And from Queens, too. (Laughter.) On top of everything, from Queens.
This afternoon, we’re also proudly joined by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and —
HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER HOYER: Right here.
THE PRESIDENT: Steny, thank you very much. Steny, stand up. Come on, Steny. You’ve worked hard. (Laughter and applause). Come on, stand up, Steny. (Applause.) Okay. Thank you. Thank you, Steny.
And Congressman Eliot Engel. Thank you very much. Thanks, Eliot. I appreciate it very much. They really have worked very hard on a lot of issues and some pertaining specifically to Ireland. And we appreciate it very much. Thank you, Eliot.
Since the 7th [17th] century, St. Patrick’s Day has honored the legacy of Ireland’s patron saint, a man of profound humility and faith, whose selfless service is an inspiration to us all.
On St. Patrick’s Day 1937, President Roosevelt noted that, “In times of plenty and in times of famine, Ireland, and the descendants of Ireland, have been faithful to the heritage of St. Patrick.” That’s right.
Today, we reaffirm our enduring gratitude for the profound contributions, extraordinary service, and unyielding spirit of the Irish people. As the United States and Ireland grow ever closer in friendship and partnership — and we are, indeed, growing closer. We’re doing trade deals, we’re doing things that we, frankly, have not done to this extent before. May we find inspiration in the example of those who came before. May we draw new strength from the noble example of Saint Patrick. And may we all be blessed by the luck of the Irish. That’s a good thing, “the luck of the Irish.”
Mr. Prime Minister, thank you again for joining us. You had a very long and good trip. And we really appreciate that you’re here. And please give our warmest and best regards to all of the great and wonderful people of Ireland. Thank you very much. Please. (Applause.) Thank you, Leo. Thank you very much.
12:31 P.M. EDT