Irish PM Varadkar apologises for ‘ill-judged’ Clinton-Lewinsky reference

Leo Varadkar, the prime minister of Ireland, has expressed regret for making a reference to the sex scandal involving former president Bill Clinton in a speech in front of a fresh batch of Capitol Hill interns.

Varadkar was describing his time as a D.C. intern at the end of Clinton’s second term, “when some parents would have had cause for concern about what would happen to interns in Washington,” to his Washington Ireland Programme audience.

Varadkar is known for making off-script puns that occasionally blow up in his face, reported Politico. 

His official spokesperson quickly apologised when the reference drew some gasps and laughter.

Varadkar, according to the spokesman said, “was reminiscing about his time in Washington D.C. as an intern 23 years ago. He made an ill-judged, off-the-cuff remark that he regrets. He apologises for any offense caused to anyone concerned.”

Accusations that Bill Clinton had lied under oath about having an affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky led to his impeachment in 1998 on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice.

Varadkar was sitting next to Hillary Clinton, the ex-secretary of state and wife of the former president, who he had just joined at a Georgetown University event, reported Politico. 

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In the White House on Friday, he will meet President Biden for the customary “shamrock ceremony,” which grants Irish government officials special access to the building on St. Patrick’s Day every year.

In 2018, when Varadkar was in Washington for St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, he made headlines in Ireland once more by claiming that he and then-President Donald Trump had assisted the hotel tycoon in delaying planning clearance for a wind farm next to his Irish golf resort, reported Politico. Varadkar acted fast to downplay his assertion that he advocated on Trump’s behalf.

(With inputs from agencies)