US Vice President Mike Pence has strongly urged Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to show support for Brexit and Borris Johnson during his two-day visit to Ireland.
During a press conference, Pence delivered a prepared statement, “Let me be clear: the US supports the UK decision to leave the EU in Brexit. But we also recognise the unique challenges on your northern border.”
We’ll be discussing US-Ireland relations, Brexit and how we can deepen ties between our two countries pic.twitter.com/d5Nt6jeF65
— Leo Varadkar (@LeoVaradkar) September 3, 2019
The Vice President continued during the press conference: “As the deadline for Brexit approaches we urge Ireland and the European Union, as well, to negotiate in good faith with Prime Minister Johnson, and work to reach an agreement that respects the United Kingdom’s sovereignty and minimises the disruption to commerce.”
Varadkar responded by instructing Pence to return to the US and convey the message that peace in the North will be put at risk by Brexit. He described Brexit as “deeply disruptive, especially for the people in Northern Ireland.”
The press conference has been heavily criticised by journalists, with the Guardian describing it as “uncomfortable” and Lord calling the reception “frosty.”
Irish Times journalist Miriam Lord described his comments so offensive it was as if he “sh*t on the new carpet in the spare room.”
Pence was accompanied on his visit with his mother, wife, and sister. Their long trip to Doonbeg appears to not solely be for family reasons but also the use of President Donald Trump’s hotel. Trump has denied involvement in the accommodation, “I had no involvement, other than it’s a great place.”
Meanwhile, Obama in Ireland… pic.twitter.com/NKN76s4ZWu
— Phoenix (@Phoenix19266911) September 4, 2019
Jude Deere, a spokesperson of the White House, utilised Pence’s meeting with Varadkar to show the Vice President is not homophobic. In a Tweet, Deere stated, “For all of you who still think our VP is anti-gay, I point you to his and the Second Lady’s schedule tomorrow where they will join Taoiseach LeoVaradkar and his partner Dr Matthew Barrett for lunch in Ireland.”
For all of you who still think our @VP is anti-gay, I point you to his and the @SecondLady’s schedule tomorrow where they will join Taoiseach @LeoVaradkar and his partner Dr. Matthew Barrett for lunch in Ireland. 🇮🇪 @merrionstreet pic.twitter.com/Cj5kMpln0U
— Judd Deere (@JuddPDeere45) September 3, 2019
From the moment the trip was announced to the point of departure, Ireland demonstrated a clear message that Pence was not welcome. Though he may shake the hand of an openly gay Taoiseach, his previous anti-LGBT+ actions will not be forgotten.
As Mike Pence urged for support of Brexit, he showed that commerce and business is currently the main and only priority.
America & Ireland are prospering because our nations are bound together by the connections of family & history but also a deep commitment to individual liberty & freedom. I’m proud to be part of an administration that respects the dignity & worth of every person, born & unborn. pic.twitter.com/9dMUdynmMe
— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) September 3, 2019
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