Joe Biden calls Taoiseach's remark over the US' handling of Covid-19 "devastating"
The US President made the comment during an interview where he also spoke about how his Irish heritage helped inform his worldview.
US President Joe Biden called Taoiseach Micheál Martin's remarks over the United States' handling of Covid-19 "devastating",
Biden's comments came during an interview with The New York Times in which the President was discussing the US' position as a global power.
He told the publication: “We’re kind of at a place where the rest of the world is beginning to look to China.
“The most devastating comment made after I was elected — it wasn’t so much about me — but it was by the Irish Taoiseach saying that ‘Well, America can’t lead. They can’t even get their arms around Covid'."
Biden - whose ancestors were from Ireland - later spoke in the interview about how his Irish heritage helped inform his worldview, particularly the importance of human dignity.
He said: “I think the Irish most often use the world ‘dignity’ of any other group of people.
“I think it’s because when you’ve been deprived of dignity you put a high, high premium on it.”
He said that in the white American communities in the middle of the last century that "to be Irish was to be second class" and that "the English owned the town.”
Earlier in the year, Biden made reference to his Irish ancestry during his first formal press briefing as President of the United States.
After being questioned about the plight of migrants at the US-Mexico border, the US President used his own family history to discuss the difficulties migrants face when journeying to a new country.
He said: "When my great-grandfather got into a coffin ship in the Irish sea, the expectation was if he was going to live long enough on that ship to get to the United States of America.
"But they left because of what the Brits had been doing.
"They were in real real trouble. They didn't want to leave, but they had no choice."
He added: “I can’t guarantee we’re going to solve everything, but I can guarantee we can make everything better.”
Meanwhile, Biden and Martin took part in a virtual bilateral meeting on St Patrick's Day this year.
The US President told the Taoiseach he "strongly supports" the Good Friday Agreement, stating that it is "critically important" it be maintained.
Biden added: "The political economic stability of Northern Ireland is very much the interest of all our people."