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Mike Pence meets gay, Irish PM but bans media from meeting

Ireland’s first openly gay leader said he would raise LGBT rights with the conservative vice president, who has faced criticism for his stance

Mike Pence meets gay, Irish PM but bans media from meeting
Mike Pence banned media from attending his meeting with openly gay Irish PM Leo Varadkar (Picture: Twitter)

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has met with US Vice President Mike Pence on St Patrick’s Day in Washington – but barred media from attending the secretive meeting.

Pence, is seen as a social conservative and has been outspoken on his anti-gay views.

But on Friday (16 March), Pence met with Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, who is the country’s first openly gay leader, to mark St Patrick’s Day.

Vardakar recently stated that he thought the US ‘was no longer the leader in LGBTI rights’.

The Taioseach revealed that he would be bringing up the issue of LGBT rights to the US number two when they held the US’ annual St Patrick’s Day meeting in Washington DC

Mike Pence bans media from his meeting with openly-gay Irish PM

Trump, Varadkar, Pence and other delegates (Picture: Twitter)

They pair met along with Donald Trump and other officials at Pence’s Naval Observatory residence.

But following reports of Varadkar’s agenda, Pence ‘banned all media’ from being present at the meeting.

Ahead of the event, Pence stipulated that the media were only allowed to capture the arrival of the pair outside Pence’s residence.

As the politicians exchanged greetings, Mr Pence ignored questions from reporters as to why the engagement was private, reports The Press Association.

Before his arrival, Mr Varadkar expressed disappointment at the media ban on Thursday. But he added:

‘It allows us maybe to have a frank conversation that’s easier to have without the media present.’

‘I think mother is looking at the Irish Prime Minister with bedroom eyes.’

However, many criticized the secret nature of the meeting, condemning Pence for ‘refusing’ to have his picture taken with Varadkar.

‘Firstly You are clearly not honored to have my Taoiseach as you refused to get a photo with him because of his sexuality.

‘Secondly you celebrate the Irish culture and the distance your ancestors travelled.

‘Try to remember that as you turn people away from America.#StPatricksDay.’

Another user commented on the picture of Varadkar and Pence, pointing out the expression on the face of a delegate.

‘I think Mother is looking at the Irish Prime Minister with bedroom eyes.

‘And so are you…’, said the user.

Drag queen Panti Bliss with Leo Varadkar this week

Drag queen Panti Bliss with Leo Varadkar

Before the meeting, Varadkar pointed out to the Irish Times that America is where the LGBTI rights movement began.

America is where the LGBTI rights movement began.

‘It’s really tough to see a country built on freedom, build on individual freedom, not being a world leader in that space anymore.’

‘I think the majority of American people would agree with what I have to say, even if the administration doesn’t.’


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