Leo Varadkar is the ”Taoiseach” of Ireland, a role which comprises the titles of prime minister, chief executive and head of government. The word means ”chieftain” in Irish and was adopted in the 1937 Constitution of Ireland. But, to keep things breezy, let’s just call him Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar.
Last year, Vice President Mike Pence had breakfast with openly gay Varadkar, an event that was to be closed to the press at the request of the Veep. I guess that Pence would not allow himself to have a meal alone with a female that is not his wife, but he is fine with dining with a gay guy. Pence probably believes he can control his animal instincts with Varadkar, but I don’t know, the Irishman is kind of hot.
This year, Varadkar took his handsome partner, Matthew Barrett, with him when he met with Pence at the beautiful Number One Observatory Circle, residence of the Vice President. Located on the grounds of the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C., the house was built in 1893 for its superintendent. In 1923, the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) liked the house so much that he took over the house for himself. It remained the residence of the CNO until 1974, when Congress designated it as an official residence for the Vice President, though a temporary one. In fact, by law, it is still the “official temporary residence of the Vice President of the United States”.
Pence, an ultra-conservative Christian has opposed same-sex marriage and the repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in the past.
Pence has the nation’s worst record on LGBTQ Rights. He consistently receives harsh criticism from LGBTQ activists. Pence once said on the House floor:
Societal collapse was always brought about following an advent of the deterioration of marriage and family.
Last year, Varadkar told reporters that he had brought up the issue of LGBTQ rights with Pence at their meeting. He also said Pence and his wife told him that he and his partner were “very welcome to visit their home in the future.” Varadkar took Pence up on that offer on Thursday, bringing Barrett along for a morning reception at the Veep’s residence. This time, the breakfast reception was open to reporters, so cameras were rolling when Varadkar talked about the change he’s seen in Ireland, a traditionally Catholic country, when it comes to acceptance of gay people.
Growing up, I was fascinated by American politics, which inspired me to believe in the power of politics to do good. I also knew at the time that I lived in a country where, if I tried to be myself at the time, I would have ended up breaking laws. 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.
Varadkar also said:
Every country should be a place where freedom and liberty are cherished. We are, after all, all God’s children.
Pence focused on his family’s ties to Ireland in his own speech. He said he is planning a trip to Ireland with his Irish-born mother, avoiding the subject of LGBTQ rights.
People often ask me what I felt on Inauguration Day when I raised my right hand. 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.
Also, this week presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke called Pence ”the cheerleader for the porn star president”. Interesting that the Veep enthusiastically supports POTUS’s anti-immigration policies, while celebrating own very pale family’s own move to the USA.
Second Lady Karen Pence skipped the event, and Anne Pence Poynter stood in for her. Karen had her homophobia watercolor class. Pence, who repeatedly voted against HIV/AIDS prevention funding as the governor of Indiana, took time to chat with Barrett who is a physician.