Irish PM Varadkar says sorry for ‘ill-judged’ Clinton-Lewinsky joke

Irish PM Varadkar says sorry for ‘ill-judged’ Clinton-Lewinsky joke
Опубликовано: Friday, 17 March 2023 07:38

Gag draws laughs, gasps — and a rapid apology.


DUBLIN — Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar has apologized for making a joking reference to then-President Bill Clinton’s sex scandal during a Washington speech in front of a new class of Capitol Hill interns.

Varadkar, known for making off-script quips that occasionally blow up in his face, was telling his Washington Ireland Program audience about his time as a D.C. intern at the end of Clinton’s second term, “when some parents would have had cause for concern about what would happen to interns in Washington.”

The allusion drew some laughs, a few gasps — and a rapid apology via his official spokesman.

Varadkar, the spokesman said, “was reminiscing about his time in Washington D.C. as an intern 23 years ago. He made an ill-judged, off-the-cuff remark which he regrets. He apologizes for any offense caused to anyone concerned.”

Bill Clinton was impeached in 1998 on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice, related to allegations he lied under oath about an affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

Varadkar had just come from another event at Georgetown University where he sat beside the former president’s wife and ex-secretary of state, Hillary Clinton.

On Friday he’s due to meet President Biden in the White House for the traditional “shamrock ceremony” that gives Irish government leaders exceptional annual access to the White House on St. Patrick’s Day.

It’s not the first unscripted St. Patrick’s misstep for Varadkar, who was Ireland’s prime minister from 2017 to 2020 and regained the top job in December.

When Varadkar was in Washington for St. Patrick’s Day events in 2018, he once again made Ireland’s front pages for the wrong reasons by saying, alongside then-President Donald Trump, he had helped the hotel tycoon block planning permission for a wind farm near his Irish golf resort. Varadkar quickly sought to minimize his claim to have lobbied on Trump’s behalf.

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