Irish PM Varadkar apologizes for ‘misjudged’ Clinton-Lewinsky joke – Reuters
DUBLIN — Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar has apologized for making a joking reference to then-President Bill Clinton’s sex scandal during a speech in Washington to a new class of Capitol Hill interns.
Varadkar, known for making off-script jokes that sometimes explode in his face, told his Washington Ireland Program audience of his time as an intern in DC at the end of Clinton’s second term, “when some parents would have had reason to worry about what would happen to the interns in Washington.
The hint elicited a few laughs, a few gasps – and a quick apology through his official spokesperson.
Varadkar, the spokesperson said, “remembered his time in Washington DC as an intern 23 years ago. He made a reckless and off-the-cuff remark that he regrets. He apologizes for any offense caused to anyone involved.
Bill Clinton was impeached in 1998 for perjury and obstruction of justice, related to allegations that he lied under oath about an affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
Varadkar had just arrived from another event at Georgetown University where he was seated next to the wife of the former president and ex-secretary of state, Hillary Clinton.
He is due to meet President Biden at the White House on Friday for the traditional “trefoil ceremony” which 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 Day misstep for Varadkar, who served as Ireland’s prime minister from 2017 to 2020 and regained the top job in December.
When Varadkar was in Washington for the St. he had helped the hotel magnate obtain planning permission for a wind farm near his home. Irish golf resort. Varadkar quickly sought to downplay his claim to have lobbied on Trump’s behalf.