Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar apologizes for joke about Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky’s fling on eve of Biden visit: Said he worked in DC when parents were ‘concerned’ about ‘what would happen to interns’ in St Patrick’s Day blunder
- The Taoiseach made the joke for a group of Capitol interns
- He joked that he was an intern around the time of the Monica scandal
- His office apologized for the “ill-considered” comment; he meets Biden Friday
Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has apologized for making an “unjudged” joke about Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky during his whirlwind DC tour timed on St. Patrick’s Day.
Varadkar, 44, made the joke while speaking to a group of interns in the nation’s capital — just a day after sitting next to former first lady Hillary Clinton at an event.
He spoke to the Washington Ireland Program and recalled his own time as an intern in Washington more than two decades ago.
It was a time “when some parents would have had cause for concern about what would happen to interns in Washington,” he joked, referring to the sex scandal that made headlines around the world in 1998.
His office immediately tried to clear up the comment.
Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar joked that he was an intern in Washington around the time of the Monica Lewinsky scandal — a day after visiting former first lady Hillary Clinton
At today’s Washington Ireland Program event, the Taoiseach reminisced about his time in Washington DC as an intern 23 years ago. He made an unwise comment that he regrets. He apologizes for any insult involved to those involved,” his spokesperson said.
It all came on a high-profile day for Ireland in the US. Varadkar will meet with President Joe Biden on Friday where they will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.
They later attend an annual Friends of Ireland Caucus luncheon at the Capitol, and Biden hosts him tonight for a Shamrock presentation and concert with Niall Horan. He visited Vice President Kamala Harris in the morning at the Vice President’s official residence.
Bill and Hillary Clinton will play a prominent role next month in celebrating the anniversary of the accords, which marked a major development of his administration. Biden and Varadkar will express their “steadfast support” for the deal at the White House.
Vice President Kamala Harris laughs as she and Second Lord Doug Emhoff host a St. Patrick’s Day breakfast with Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and his partner Matthew Barrett at the Vice President’s Residence
Varadkar’s office tried to clean up the comment, saying he meant no offense
Varadkar interned in Washington more than 20 years ago. He joked that it was a time “when some parents would have had cause for concern about what would happen to interns in Washington,” referring to the Clinton Lewinsky scandal.
Varadkar is not the first prominent figure in Washington to make an inside joke. But just on Thursday, he sat next to Hillary Clinton at Georgetown University, speaking about the important role of women in reaching the Good Friday Agreement and the Belfast Agreement, which will be marked in Ireland and Northern Ireland next month.
“The central role of women in the peace process was visible to all involved at the time,” he said, the independent reported.
‘Women were there at the formal and informal origins. Women played leading roles at the top political tables in Belfast, London, Dublin and in Washington, providing civil society voices that provided the context in which peace became possible,” he continued.
At their breakfast meeting, Harris said Biden started the tradition of hosting the Toiseach when he was vice president and that she “got the bug now.”
She referred to the “hard-earned and hard-won” peace.
Varadkar said he and his partner Matthew Barrett, both doctors, are “inspired” by Harris’s support for marriage equality and the fight against Proposition 8 California to ban same-sex marriage.
“From Stonewall to Sacramento to San Francisco. America is at the forefront of LGBT equality. I don’t think I would be here today if it weren’t for America,” he said.