In just a couple weeks, you’ll be seeing parades of green, Irish flags and maybe even green beer on tap at bars as Americans gather to celebrate their Irish heritage on St. Patrick’s Day. Down in D.C., Donald Trump plans to follow presidential tradition by hosting the Irish prime minister and Irish-American members of Congress at a St. Patrick’s Day ceremony. But if former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley has his way, Trump’s ceremonial bash will see record low turnout of elected officials.
O’Malley launched a petition yesterday calling for Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny and American lawmakers to boycott the White House event on Thursday, March 16. The petition quotes the first line of 1916 Proclamation of the Irish Republic, which asserted the country’s independence from the United Kingdom.
“‘In the name of God and of the dead generations from which Ireland receives her old tradition of nationhood,’” boycott Trump’s St. Patrick’s Day gathering at the White House on Thursday, March 16,” it reads.
In an accompanying video address, the ex-governor didn’t hold back.
“Our tradition, the tradition of immigrant Irish people in America, is a very different tradition that what the immigrant-bashing Donald Trump and white supremacists with Irish surnames like Steve Bannon are offering our country,” he said.
O’Malley is a proud Irish-American with Irish ancestors on both his mother’s and father’s sides. In addition to being Maryland’s most recent two-term governor and an early presidential candidate in last year’s election, he’s also known as the frontman and guitarist for his Irish rock band O’Malley’s March. They played this same celebration at the White House in 2012, with Kenny in attendance.
His petition actually followed one launched in Ireland in January pushing Kenny not to attend. The Irish one has received more than 38,000 signatures as of this morning; the former governor’s petition has received just over 3,300 signatures since it began on Tuesday.
For his part, Kenny has indicated he plans to attend the ceremony. He’s visited every year since he took office in Ireland, according to a quick search of White House media.
It’s hard to hold that against him. Every year since 1952, the Irish prime minister has presented the president with a bowl of shamrocks on the holiday.
Kenny’s politics don’t exactly align with the president’s. In late January, he condemned the president’s now-failed 90-day travel ban for visitors from seven predominantly Muslim countries. “The blanket ban on any country, bans on the basis of religion, are not morally acceptable and I disagree entirely with the policy that has been laid out,” he told Ireland’s lower house, per The Irish News.
According to the newspaper, Kenny plans to bring up this disagreement when he travels to the White House this month. The Irish Times reports he’s already said he doesn’t plan to extend Trump an invitation to come visit Dublin.
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