‘We trust making America great again will not mean losing sight of what makes it great already’ – Taoiseach at traditional White House shamrock ceremony

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‘We trust making America great again will not mean losing sight of what makes it great already’ – Taoiseach at traditional White House shamrock ceremony


Taoiseach Leo Varadkar presents US President Donald Trump with a bowl of Shamrock Credit: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar presents US President Donald Trump with a bowl of Shamrock Credit: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

TAOISEACH Leo Varadkar has praised US President Donald Trump for the results of his efforts to ‘Make America Great Again’.

But he also said: “we know and trust, that making America great again will not mean fighting or losing sight of what makes it great already.”

He made the remarks during the traditional shamrock ceremony in the White House this evening.

Mr Trump was joined by first lady Melania for the event in the East Room of the executive mansion.

In his speech Mr Varadkar spoke of achievements by Mr Trump’s predecessors in the Office of President.

He said Abraham Lincoln had preserved democracy and Franklin D Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan “defeated two evil empires and secured freedom for the world”.

Mr Varadkar said: “Your ambition is to make America Great Again, and I think we can already see some of the results of that”.

“The American economy is booming.  More jobs.  Rising incomes.  Exactly what you said you’d do.

“American military power is unrivaled.”

“However, I believe the greatness of America is about more than economic prowess and military might.

“It is rooted in the things that make us love America: above all your people, your values, a new nation conceived in liberty.

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“The land and the home of the brave and the free.”

He said: “we know and trust, that making America Great Again will not mean fighting or losing sight of what makes it great already.”

Mr Varadkar said people around the world have been inspired by America and have traveled to go there and make it their home, including millions from Ireland.

He said some people made the opposite journey and still do, and when Americans come to Ireland we greet them as brothers and sisters.

He told Mr Trump: “our history is shared, our future is entwined.”

Mr Varadkar said he believes that “future generations of our citizens should have the same opportunity to enrich one another’s societies as past generations have”.

He said:  “No nations at the moment with as many ties as Ireland has to the United States has so few pathways to legal immigration.

“Whenever we’ve talked about this we’ve found agreement.”

He thanked Congress and Mr Trump for their support for the new E3 visa programme which will  allow a limited number of Irish people to work in the US each year.

The scheme is open to Australians but they don’t use the full amount of visas that are open to them.

Proposed US legislation would see Irish people eligible to apply under the scheme.

Earlier Mr Trump welcomed Mr Varadkar and his partner Dr Matt Barrett to the shamrock ceremony.

He said “there’s a lot of Irish folk in this room… Some of you came all the way from the Emerald Isle to be with us.

“Others came from the little known island of Manhattan. No matter where you began your journey we’re grateful that you made it.”

Mr Trump noted the Irish Americans in the room including vice president Mike Pence and Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

He went off script to talk about trade with China but later returned to his theme.

He said from Boston to Chicago millions of American celebrate rich heritage of the “inspiring Irish people.”

He added: “I know many Irish people and they are inspiring” and quipped: “They’s sharp, they’re smart, they’re great and they are brutal enemies… always keep them as your friend.”

Read more: Trump meets Varadkar: US President says he intends to visit Ireland this year, criticises May’s handling of Brexit  

Online Editors

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