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Pool #6
Louise Radnofsky • Wall Street Journal
March 16, 2017: 06:58 PM


Vice President Mike Pence gave opening remarks at the reception, describing his Irish grandfather's 1923 arrival at Ellis Island, the hard work that put his grandson in the White House, and the red hair and blue eyes he gave his daughter, Mr Pence's now-83-year-old mother.

Mr. Trump was introduced by Mr Pence around 6:10, and made remarks that ran just under five minutes. In welcoming guests, he singled out the Mayor of Belfast and head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service, in attendance along with the Republic of Ireland's leaders. The president noted that he knew they would be hosting a golf open championship on "a great course."

The US president described the origins of the White House shamrock ceremony, praised the Irish for their ability to fight and for their confidence, and waxed on John F. Kennedy for the second time today. He said America needed "this great Irish confidence" and that "a new confidence is sweeping across our nation" now. He also pledged constant loyalty to Ireland "as America gains a new strength" and concluded by explicitly calling for God to bless the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and the United States of America.

Mr. Kenny followed, speaking for around seven minutes and hitting many of the same themes as he did earlier today at the congressional luncheon. He told Mr. Trump: he held "the hopes and future of America, and indeed the world in your hands" and said they had had a "first-class" meeting this morning.

On immigration, he described St. Patrick as a symbol of, and indeed a "patron" of immigrants and said the Irish had come to the United States as refugees, deprived of liberty, opportunity, safety and food. "We were the wretched refuse on the teeming shore," Mr. Kenny said, and believed in the "compassion" of America, he said.

He described the contributions of Irish immigrants to America, listing Irish firefighters and police officers and road builders and bridge builders and health providers and poets and singers and legislators and judges, as well entrepreneurs, most recently in tech. He talked of a "two-way trade in goods", said that Ireland's geographical location meant that it could serve as a "natural bridge" between the United States and Europe, and pledged to walk hand-in-hand with the U.S. "as a committed member of the European Union."

Pool was far too far back and low down in the East Room to see anything, but your photographers should have you covered for what actually happened with the shamrocks. Pool was ushered out around 6:30, when remarks concluded.



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