Ireland’s prime minister has apologized for his apparent reference to Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky in a speech in Washington.
Leo Varadkar spoke at the Washington Ireland Project about his internship in the US capital in 2000 during Bill Clinton’s presidency.
Two years ago, news of the president’s affair with the White House shocked the world and eventually led to his impeachment trial.
In his speech today, the Irish leader joked that “some parents may be concerned about what happens to the interns in Washington” when he is interning in the US capital.
The comment drew some laughter in the room but was quickly dismissed as an embarrassing misstep, especially as the Clintons are due to visit Ireland next month as part of celebrations for the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday agreement.
A spokesman for Mr Varadkar later apologized to the traveling press corps.
“At today’s Washington Ireland Program event, the Prime Minister reflected on his experience as an intern in Washington DC 23 years ago.
“He regretted making an off-the-cuff remark that was poorly judged. He apologizes for any offense caused to anyone involved.”
Mr Varadkar met Hillary Clinton at a separate event in Washington hours before making his comments.