Taoiseach in hot water over "Intern" remark on St. Patrick's Day Washington visit 6 months ago

Taoiseach in hot water over "Intern" remark on St. Patrick's Day Washington visit

The Taoiseach had made a remark referring to the infamous Clinton intern scandal.

Leo Varadkar made an "off the cuff remark" regarding former US President, Bill Clinton, on what was the annual St. Patrick's Day visit of the Taoiseach to Washington D.C. to engage in diplomacy which furthers Irish-American political relations.


Having himself graduated from the Washington in Ireland intern program back in 2000, the Fine Gael leader was speaking to the scheme's 2023 cohort at a function in the American capital.

Varadkar Clinton Intern The Taoiseach was in Washington for the annual St. Patrick's Day events at the White House. (Credit: Getty Images)

Speaking at the event, Varadkar said that he was an intern at a time when "some parents would have had cause for concern about what would happen to interns in Washington".


The comment itself bore a strong resonance to the infamous scandal which rocked American politics back in the late 1990's, just a number of years prior to Varadkar's own internship in the city.

The scandal in question is the admission of then-US President Clinton that he had an affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky during his first term in office, in events which saw the House of Representatives vote to impeach the Democratic leader.

Taoiseach Intern Remarks The Taoiseach had just hours earlier met with Clinton's wife, Hillary. (Credit: Getty Images)

'He made an ill-judged, off the cuff remark'

Varadkar made the remarks just hours after meeting Clinton's wife, and former Democratic Presidential nominee, Hillary, at another St. Patrick's weekend related function.

A spokesperson for the Taoiseach said following the remarks that "He made an ill-judged, off the cuff remark which he regrets. He apologises for any offence caused to anyone concerned".

The incident rounds off what has been a difficult few weeks for Varadkar. The 44-year-old has received widespread criticism for both his government's decision to scrap the eviction ban brought into place during the pandemic, and also the news that he has recently become a landlord himself.


Varadkar Intern Remark President Biden will visit Ireland next month as part of the Good Friday Agreement commemorations. (Credit: Getty Images)

Following the news that the new government housing scheme also fell flat on its face last week, the Taoiseach is now facing yet another fresh wave of political backlash.

However, as the 25th anniversary of Good Friday agreement edges closer, Varadkar will be hoping that the visits of both President Biden and King Charles III to Ireland next month can bring about a change of focus within the media and for his critics.

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