“Which of us is more Irish?” Kevin McCarthy jokes about ‘clash’ with Biden as a show of unity on St. Patrick’s Day — as Republicans step up investigation into first family and talk about $31 trillion national debt
- Biden added that there is no reason “we can’t find common ground” and that he hopes “we can make this breakfast a more mundane relationship”
- McCarthy joked that a “clash was imminent” between himself and the president, asking the Irish 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 speaker Kevin McCarthy were all smiles and warm feelings during a Friends of Ireland luncheon between the pair, save for a bitter standoff brewing over the debt ceiling.
The couple agreed that they wanted to have a friendly relationship despite their differences, patterned after that of Republican President Ronald Reagan and Democratic Speaker Tip O’Neill – two other Irish Americans of recent years.
“Our positions may be reversed, but our goals are the same: We’re putting this country first,” McCarthy said over lunch on Capitol Hill.
Biden agreed to his own address, adding that he’s the “only Irish man you’ve ever met, though he’s never had a drink.”
Biden added that there is no reason “we can’t find common ground” and that he hopes “we can turn this breakfast into a more mundane relationship.”
President Biden and speaker Kevin McCarthy were all smiles and warm feelings during a Friends of Ireland luncheon between the pair, barring a bitter standoff brewing over the debt ceiling
The couple agreed that they wanted to have a civil and amicable relationship despite their differences, patterned after that of Republican President Ronald Reagan and Democratic Speaker Tip O’Neill – two other Irish Americans of recent years
“Our positions may be reversed, but our goals are the same: We’re putting this country first,” McCarthy said.
“There’s no reason we can’t hope to change this direction of extremism from both sides,” Biden said, adding that it’s about the “power of friendship.”
“Well done,” the speaker whispered to the president as he sat down next to him at the end of his speech.
It was the first time the pair had seen each other in seven weeks since their initial meeting over raising the $31.4 trillion debt ceiling. McCarthy has slammed Biden for not yet inviting him to a meeting, with the president saying he will do so once Republicans release their own budget proposal.
Biden released his $6.8 trillion proposal last week, which the speaker called “completely unserious.”
McCarthy joked about the war of words about the bitter budget battle between the GOP-led House and the president.
McCarthy said to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, “That there’s a clash coming, people say, between the president and me about what we should do, what would be the ramifications for the whole nation over the next few months, which I think you might can arrange – which of us is more Irish.’
Varadkar praised the US position as “leader of the free world” in supporting Ukraine. “To be silent means to surrender.”
McCarthy was applauded as he thanked former chairman Nancy Pelosi for attending the luncheon.
He also praised Joe Kennedy, the US special envoy to Northern Ireland, saying the Democrat from Massachusetts had been a “good member of Congress” and a good friend.
Biden and McCarthy talk as the president leaves the Capitol and back to the White House
McCarthy said that as he celebrated with Kennedy after the birth of his first child Ellie, McCarthy joked that the baby would follow in his own footsteps — “Born into an Irish Democratic family and she’s going to be a Republican.”
Biden and McCarthy have not yet scheduled another meeting to discuss budgets, but must come to an agreement before June to raise the debt ceiling. Biden wants a clean increase in the country’s $31.4 trillion borrowing limit, McCarthy says his party will not agree to lift the cap unless there are budget cuts.
Neither Biden nor McCarthy answered questions as the speaker waved goodbye to the president. Before lunch, McCarthy spoke briefly to reporters where he was asked about his approval for 2024.
“I could endorse it, but I didn’t,” the speaker said, remaining coy about whether or not to support Donald Trump or any other candidate.