Leo Varadkar at the Library of Congress on Tuesday evening
By Ray O’Hanlon
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will meet President Trump for the first time today at the White House.
The two have much to discuss.
Never miss an issue of The Irish Echo
Subscribe to one of our great value packages.
Mr. Varadkar is expected to repeat an invitation from his predecessor, Enda Kenny, for the president to visit Ireland.
Reports indicate that the taoiseach might ask Mr. Trump to travel to a border location during an Irish visit, this in the context of Brexit.
A North peace envoy, a U.S. ambassador to Ireland, trade and tariffs, the undocumented Irish, LGBT rights, and Brexit are all matters that are expect to arise in talks between the two leaders.
Mr. Varadkar was in Texas and Oklahoma before traveling to Washington, D.C. and from the nation’s capital he will travel to New York for continued St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.
On Tuesday, Mr. Varadkar delivered a foreign policy address to the Brookings Institution.
That evening Mr. Varadkar and Senator George Mitchell were keynote speakers at a congressional event marking the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement hosted by Congressman Richard Neal.
Trade promotion was the focus of the taoiseach’s program on Wednesday, according to an Irish government release.
The taoiseach met senior representatives of Irish companies in the US and held separate roundtable discussions with members of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, this to promote Ireland as an investment location.
On Wednesday evening Mr. Varadkar addressed the annual American Ireland Fund Gala dinner.
Today brings the bilateral meeting with President Trump at the White House. The program includes the annual presentation of the bowl of shamrock to the president at the subsequent St. Patrick’s Day White House reception.
Mr. Varadkar will also attend the Speaker’s Lunch on Capitol Hill. According to the release he will use these opportunities to emphasize the strength of Irish-U.S. relations and to highlight the case of the undocumented Irish.
He is also expected to raise the issue of LGBT rights with President Trump.
The taoiseach will be guest of honor at a breakfast hosted by Vice President Mike Pence on Friday morning. He will then travel to New York for a business lunch hosted by Bloomberg News.
Mr. Varadkar will visit the Manhattan site of the new Irish Arts Centre on Friday afternoon before meeting the representatives of the main Irish immigrant centers.
He will speak at a reception for the Irish community Friday evening at the Irish Condulate and announce the launch of the New York Washington Ireland Program.
The taoiseach’s visit will conclude on Saturday when he meets with Mayor Bill de Blasio, attends Mass at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, and takes part in the parade up Fifth Avenue.
It remains unclear if there will be an announcement about a new U.S. North peace envoy during Mr. Varadkar’s visit, this in the aftermath of the Tuesday firing of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson by President Trump.
The announcement of a new U.S. ambassador to Ireland seems like a safer bet. Just about the only name in circulation since last summer has been that of Cleveland, Ohio businessman Edward Crawford.