President Donald Trump praised the Irish as he welcomed Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny to the White House to recognize St. Patrick’s Day and the relationship between the two countries.
During a reception at the White House on Thursday night, Trump recognized the Irish for serving in the military during the Civil War, where they earned the “Fighting Irish” nickname.
“I know a lot about the Irish. They fight. They’re tough,” Trump said.
He also praised their bravery in World War II and the Irish Americans who helped build America in the Industrial Revolution.
Trump also traveled to the Capitol earlier in the day with Kenny for a reception with Speaker Paul Ryan.
During his remarks, Trump said Americans of many different faiths recognize St. Patrick’s Day and that he had attended many St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in New York City.
“With each subsequent year, the Irish people marched, passed another accomplishment, and celebrated another very hard-earned success,” he said.
Kenny presented Trump with a crystal bowl of shamrocks, a presidential tradition with the Irish prime minister that started with President Harry Truman. Trump also recognized America’s first Irish Catholic president, John F. Kennedy.
“President John F. Kennedy, in an address to the Irish Parliament, said that ‘it is that quality of the Irish, that remarkable combination of hope, confidence, and imagination, that is needed more than ever today,'” Trump said. “Now, he said that a long time ago, but it is perhaps even more true today.”