“Which of us is the most Irish? Kevin McCarthy jokes about ‘clash’ with Biden on St. Patrick’s Day unity show – as Republicans step up First Family probe and discuss $31 trillion national debt stall
- Biden added that there’s no reason “we can’t find common ground” and that he hopes “we can turn this breakfast into a more everyday relationship.”
- McCarthy joked a ‘clash is brewing’ between him and the president, asked Ireland’s prime minister to decide ‘Which of us is more Irish?’
- It was the first time Biden and McCarthy had seen each other since their debt ceiling meeting seven weeks ago
President Biden and Chairman Kevin McCarthy were all smiles and warm at a Friends of Ireland luncheon in between, putting aside a bitter standoff over the debt ceiling.
The pair agreed they wanted to have a friendly relationship despite their differences shaped after that of Republican President Ronald Reagan and Democratic President Tip O’Neill – two fellow Irish Americans from years past.
“Our positions may be reversed, but our goals are the same – we put this country first,” McCarthy said during the luncheon on Capitol Hill.
Biden agreed in his own address, adding that he’s the “only Irishman you’ve ever met despite never having a drink.”
Biden added that there’s no reason “we can’t find common ground” and that he hopes “we can turn this breakfast into a more everyday relationship.”
President Biden and Chairman Kevin McCarthy were all smiles and warm at a Friends of Ireland luncheon in between, putting aside a bitter standoff over the debt ceiling
The pair agreed they wanted to have a civil and friendly relationship despite their differences shaped after that of Republican President Ronald Reagan and Democratic President Tip O’Neill – two fellow Irish Americans from years past.
“Our positions may be reversed, but our goals are the same – we put this country first,” McCarthy said.
“There’s no reason we can’t hope to change that direction of extremism from both of our parties,” Biden said, adding it was about the “power of friendship.”
“Good job,” the speaker whispered to the president as he sat down next to him at the end of his address.
It was the first time the couple had seen each other in seven weeks since they first met over raising the $31.4 trillion debt ceiling. McCarthy hit out at Biden for not inviting him to meet yet, while the president said he would once Republicans released their own budget proposal.
Biden released his $6.8 trillion proposal last week, which the speaker called “completely unserious.”
McCarthy made a war of words joke about the bitter budget battle brewing between the GOP-led House and the president.
McCarthy told Taoiseach Leo Varadkar: “That a clash is brewing, people say, between the president and me about what we should do, what would be the ramifications for the whole nation in the months to come, that I think you might be able to sort out which one of us is more Irish.
Varadkar hailed the United States’ position as “the leader of the free world” in supporting Ukraine. “To be silent means to surrender.”
McCarthy received a round of applause as she thanked former President Nancy Pelosi for attending the luncheon.
He also praised Joe Kennedy, the US special envoy to Northern Ireland, saying the Massachusetts Democrat had been a “good congressman” and a close friend.
Biden and McCarthy chat as the president leaves the Capitol and returns to the White House
McCarthy said when he celebrated with Kennedy after the birth of his first child Ellie, McCarthy joked that the baby would follow in her own footsteps — “Born into an Irish Democratic family and she’s going to be a Republican.”
Biden and McCarthy do not yet have a meeting scheduled to discuss budgets, but must agree before the June deadline to raise the debt ceiling. Biden wants a net increase to the nation’s borrowing limit of $31.4 trillion, McCarthy says his party won’t agree to lifting the cap unless there are budget cuts.
Neither Biden nor McCarthy answered questions when the speaker saw the president leave. Before lunch, McCarthy spoke to reporters briefly where he was asked about his endorsement in 2024.
“I could approve, but I didn’t,” the speaker said, remaining coy about whether or not he would endorse Donald Trump or another candidate.