- US Vice President Mike Pence has been accused of trying to humiliate his hosts during a visit to Ireland this week by voicing his support for Brexit, which is highly unpopular in the country.
- Pence previously drew criticism for choosing to stay at one of President Donald Trump’s golf resorts, which was 160 miles away and on the opposite side of the country from his scheduled meetings in Dublin.
- One newspaper columnist said the vice president had “shat on the carpet.”
- There were no crowds present to greet him upon arrival, in contrast to a past visit by President Barack Obama.
LONDON – Vice President Mike Pence has been met by a wave of criticism during his visit to Ireland, with commentators in the country accusing him of submitting his hosts to “humiliation” and one newspaper columnist concluding that the US vice president had “shat on the carpet.”
Pence faced immediate criticism upon landing in Ireland for his decision to stay at President Donald Trump’s golf resort in Doonbeg, County Clare, rather than in Dublin.
The luxury club is over 160 miles from the Irish capital and on the opposite side of the country, prompting Pence to travel to and from the city on Air Force 2 for two days consecutively.
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi criticised Pence’s use of the president’s properties, which she described as a “cesspool of corruption.”
“Pence is just the latest Republican elected official to enable President Trump’s violations of the Constitution,” she said.
Pence fails to draw the crowds in Ireland
Welcome to Ireland-a MASSIVE crowd pic.twitter.com/ep0oAnt6rV
— Jesus Chrysler (@JesusChrysler15) September 4, 2019
Social-media users were quick to point out the shortage of well-wishers to greet the vice president, in contrast with the large crowds that greeted President Barack Obama during his visit in 2011.
Videos of Pence’s stay in Doonbeg, where Trump’s golf resort is located, indicated that almost nobody turned out to greet him, despite his ancestral connections to the area.
The controversy continued after a meeting between the vice president and Leo Varadkar, the Irish premier, in which Pence underlined his administration’s support for the UK leaving the European Union, an unpopular view in Ireland.
“Let me be clear: The US supports the UK decision to leave the EU in Brexit,” Pence told Varadkar. “But we also recognise the unique challenges on your northern border. And I can assure you we will continue to encourage the United Kingdom and Ireland to ensure that any Brexit respects the Good Friday Agreement.”
The UK’s attempts to leave the EU pose unique problems for the Good Friday Agreement, the 1998 accord that governs peace between Northern Ireland and Ireland, and Irish newspapers were quick to criticise Pence for his comments.
The Irish Examiner’s political editor, Daniel McConnell, accused Pence of trying to “humiliate” his hosts. “How dare he?” McConnell wrote. “The cheek of him coming here, eating our food, clogging up our roads, and then having the nerve to humiliate his hosts.”
Irish Central asked simply, “Did VP Pence betray Ireland?”
The Irish Times columnist Miriam Lord provided the harshest commentary on Pence’s visit.
She compared Ireland’s hosting of Pence to “pulling out all the stops for a much-anticipated visitor to your home and thinking it has been a great success until somebody discovers he shat on the new carpet in the spare room, the one you bought specially for him.”
The meeting appeared tense at times. Varadkar is gay and a prominent advocate of same-sex marriage who had greeted Pence alongside his partner, Matthew Barrett, while the vice president has consistently opposed LGBT rights and is opposed to both same-sex marriage and same-sex civil unions. He has also criticised the idea of gay people serving in the military.
In an editorial, The Irish Times said Pence’s views on the issue were an “anathema to a majority of people in modern Ireland.”
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