Ireland’s Prime Minister has apologised for a comment apparently referencing Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky during a speech in Washington.
Leo Varadkar was addressing the Washington Ireland Programme and was speaking of his experience as an intern in the American capital in 2000, during the presidency of Bill Clinton.
It was two years after news of the president’s affair with the White House intern rocked the world, and eventually led to his impeachment trial.
Speaking today, the Irish leader jokingly remarked that he was interning in the US capital at a time “when some parents would have had cause for concern about what would happen to interns in Washington.”
The comment was greeted by some laughter in the room, but was quickly seen as an embarrassing mis-step, especially as the Clintons are due to visit Ireland next month as part of the Good Friday Agreement 25th anniversary celebrations.
A spokesperson for Mr Varadkar later issued an apology to the travelling press pack.
“At the Washington Ireland Program event today, the Taoiseach was reminiscing about his time in Washington DC as an intern 23 years ago.
“He made an ill-judged off-the-cuff remark which he regrets. He apologises for any offence caused to anyone concerned.”
Mr Varadkar had met Hilary Clinton at a different event in Washington just hours before his comments.