President Donald Trump said that he was eager to visit Ireland, revealing that he had already received a formal invitation.
The president met with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar at the White House on Thursday to recognize St. Patrick’s Day.
During the visit, Irish reporters asked him if he planned to visit in 2019.
“I will, I love it … it could happen,” he said. When asked if he would visit before the Irish elections, Trump joked with Varadkar that he would consider it, if it helped the Irish Prime Minister’s campaign.
“I look forward to being there,” he said. “I guess I have received a formal invitation.”
Trump added that he had property in Ireland, but joked that he “may never get to see it again.” He confirmed that he would be willing to visit the border of Northern Ireland as well.
When asked if he played golf, Varadkar said that he didn’t but was always open to learning if the president wanted to take him out for a round.
Trump praised the Irish people, noting that there were many Irish-Americans in New York City.
The Irish Prime Minister said he looked forward to marching in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in New York on Friday.
“I’d like to do it with you,” Trump said, noting that he used to watch the parade as it passed by Trump Tower every year.
“I would watch it all the time,” he said.
Trump then traveled to Capitol Hill for the Friends of St. Patrick lunch with Speaker Paul Ryan and members of Congress.
The president praised the“toughness,” “grit,” and “fighting spirit” of the Irish people, noting that Irish-American President John Kennedy was the one that first set America’s sights on the moon.
“We’re looking at Mars by the way … trying to top him,” Trump said. “We’re going to get there.”
He also commented lightly to the Irish Prime Minister that he was a “tough one to compete with” on low corporate tax rates.
“They got those taxes so low,” he said.
House Speaker Paul Ryan toasted the leaders with a pint of Guinness beer.
“The Guinness does taste better in Ireland but I realize this isn’t the year to bring up trade issues,” he joked.