A picture of Mike Pence standing next to the Irish Prime Minister’s boyfriend is a sight to behold.
In honor of Saint Patrick’s Day, the Trump administration is hosting the Irish Prime Minister at the White House. The Prime Minister participated in the annual shamrock ceremony on Thursday and presented Trump with a bowl of Ireland’s famous greens, according to the Associated Press.
But on a more formal level, the two are spending the visit as a time to discuss how to strengthen relations between the United States and Ireland. They also hope to stabilize progress from a 1998 agreement called the Good Friday Agreement, which took some of the decision-making powers over Ireland from London and reduced the British military’s operations in Northern Ireland.
But the people of the internet are more interested in a photo op then political discussions, and that’s mostly because of Mike Pence.
Vice President Mike Pence is known for his anti-LGBTQ stance. Not only did he work against gay marriage while acting as Governor of Indiana, but he openly fought against it from a national level and the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell.” In addition, his wife, Karen, received flack last year for working at a school with a strict anti-LGBTQ policy.
Despite this, the Pences welcomed Ireland’s openly gay Prime Minister Leo Varadkar into their home on Thursday.
According to the Guardian, Mike and Karen Pence shared last year that Varadkar and his partner were “very welcome to visit their home in the future.” And yesterday, the two took the Pences up on their offer.
Varadkar brought his partner, Matthew Barrett, with him to a breakfast reception at the US Naval Observatory. And during a speech to the Vice President and his guests, Varadkar talked about the LGBTQ-acceptance he’s seeing in his traditionally Catholic country. He attributes this change to the power of politics to do good.
“I lived in a country where, if I tried to be myself at the time, I would have ended up breaking laws,” he said. “But today that has all changed. I stand here leader of my country, flawed and human, but judged by my political actions and not my sexual orientation, my skin tone, gender, or religious beliefs.”
“We are, after all, all God’s children,” he added.
According to the Business Insider Malaysia, Mike Pence responded by avoiding to mentioning LGBTQ rights and instead focused on his Irish-born mother.
“People often ask me what I felt on Inauguration Day when I raised my right hand,” Pence said. “As I looked out at that vast throng of Americans and took that oath, I thought about my grandpa … He was proud to be an American, but I can still hear that Irish brogue in my heart when my grandfather used to talk about the old country and his home across the pond. His love for the Irish people, his love for the Irish heritage is bone-marrow deep.”