Ireland’s gay prime minister, Leo Varadkar, visited the White House Thursday, where he met with Donald Trump, Mike Pence, Nancy Pelosi, and U.S. leaders ahead of Saint Patrick’s Day. He also tweeted that he and his boyfriend, Matt Barrett, shared a lovely breakfast at the home of notoriously anti-LGBTQ Mike Pence.
“Thanks to the Vice President and his sister for a lovely morning at his home. What a great way to start this St Patrick’s weekend,” Varadkar tweeted.
Vice President Mike Pence invited me and Matt to his home at the Naval Observatory this morning. It’s great to be back here for a really warm reception. pic.twitter.com/Wkh2Ic8lWP
— Leo Varadkar (@campaignforleo) March 14, 2019
Varadkar spoke about his sexuality briefly at the Naval Observatory, where he arrived to meet U.S. leaders.
“I lived in a country where if I’d tried to be myself at the time, it would have ended up breaking laws,” he said, according to The Washington Post. “But today, that is all changed. I stand here, leader of my country, flawed and human, but judged by my political actions, and not by my sexual orientation, my skin tone, gender or religious beliefs.”
“And I don’t believe my country is the only one in the world where this story is possible. It is found in every country where freedom and liberty are cherished,” Varadkar continued. “We are, after all, all God’s children. That’s true of the United States as well, the land and home of the brave and free.”
Varadkar’s visit marks the first time Pence has invited the partner of a gay world leader to his home (although there aren’t many gay world leaders to begin with). The prime minister said that Pence and his team were briefed that his partner, Matt, would be joining. Pence’s wife, Karen Pence, was not present at the breakfast, although his sister Anne Pence Poynter was there.
“They were very well briefed,” Varadkar said. “They knew about my personal story, that my partner was living in Chicago, and they said both Matt and I would be very welcome to visit their home in future.”
Meanwhile, Pence’s actions against LGBTQ people include signing the “religious freedom” or “license to discriminate” bill as governor of Indiana, suggesting funneling funds from HIV programs to those dedicated to changing sexual behavior, opposing marriage equality, and voting against the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act while serving in Congress. Pence recently defended his wife’s decision to work at a school that does not accept LGBTQ kids or staff members.