House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reminded Donald Trump of the importance of immigration during a St. Patrick’s Day luncheon at the Capitol on Thursday.
During her remarks, she noted that the annual St. Patrick’s Day dinner on Capitol Hill was a tradition started in the 1980s by Speaker Tip O’Neil and President Ronald Reagan.
Pelosi said she was “proud” that Reagan was a California president, and quoted the former Republican president on the importance of immigration.
“Mr. President, here is what he said, because he and Tip O’Neil, despite their other differences, had one thing in common, they understood the valuable contribution that Irish Americans made to our country and beyond Irish Americans,” she said, pointedly quoting two clips of Reagan on immigration.
“Thanks to each wave of new arrivals to this land of opportunity we are a nation forever young, forever bursting with energy and new ideas and always on the cutting edge,” she read. “If we ever close the door to new Americans, our leadership in the world would soon be lost.”
“You can applaud if you want,” she said to the audience, pausing for effect.
Trump’s speech focused on the historic contributions of the Irish to the United States, describing St. Patrick as “a man of humility and faith.”
“The United States and Ireland are bound together by kinship and friendship,” he said. “Our citizens share an abiding love of faith, family, and freedom.”
He praised the Irish for their contributions to art, literature, music, and culture.
“Nobody has done it like the Irish,” Trump said. “They do it with flair, they do it with brilliance.”
Pelosi admitted that she was not Irish but that she had Irish grandchildren. Noting her own Italian heritage, she poked fun at the Irish by noting that St. Patrick was Italian when he first traveled to Ireland.