President Donald Trump has decided to skip the annual Congressional St. Patrick’s Day lunch on Capitol Hill, according to Politico‘s Playbook.
“Since the Speaker [of the House Nancy Pelosi] has chosen to tear this Nation apart with her actions and her rhetoric, the President will not participate in moments where she so often chooses to drive discord and disunity, and will instead celebrate the rich history and strong ties between the United States and Ireland at the White House on March 12,” White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere said in a statement.
The annual lunch on Capitol Hill takes place around St. Patrick’s Day in addition to a White House meeting with the Prime Minister of Ireland and a White House reception where the Taoiseach traditionally gives the president a bowl of shamrocks.
The Congressional luncheon is an ongoing tradition started by House Speaker Tip O’Neill in 1983, who invited President Ronald Reagan to Capitol Hill for the occasion.
But the relationship between Trump and Pelosi has deteriorated, particularly after she ripped up the president’s speech at his 2020 State of the Union address.
She also removed the words “high privilege” and “distinct honor” for the traditional introduction of the president at Congress at the beginning of his speech.
At last year’s St. Patrick’s Day celebration, Pelosi needled Trump on immigration at the reception by pointedly quoting former President Ronald Reagan and O’Neill on the issue.