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Irish PM Leo Varadkar vows to challenge Trump-Pence Administration on LGBT rights

Ireland’s openly gay Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Leo Varadkar speaking in Parliament last week ahead of a visit to the United States for St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, said he would use his time with President Trump to press him on some issues. 

“We will hold a bilateral meeting as part of that visit. President Trump is the head of government of the United States, I am head of government of Ireland, and we are two countries which have very strong links,” said Varadkar, according to Pink News.

“They are cultural — they run in our blood, most of us have American family, and many Americans have Irish family — and they are economic. They are extremely important, and I want to maintain and strengthen them. They will outlast any president or Taoiseach, and it is important that we see everything from that perspective.

“There are many of Donald Trump’s policies with which I do not agree. I do not agree with him on migration, climate change or trade. I am very much a supporter of free trade and the politics of Donald Trump are much closer to those of Deputy Paul Murphy on that particular issue. I also believe very strongly in individual freedom, which encompasses women’s right and the rights of people who are [LGBT].”

However, Varadkar’s opponents have called for him to boycott the Trump administration.

Solidarity Teachta Dála for Dublin South West Paul Murphy said: “[Trump] is the ugly face of a capitalist system devoted to maximizing profit at any cost.

“The best thing the Taoiseach could do would be to refuse to meet him, refuse to allow his racist, anti-immigrant policies to be greenwashed with a bowl of shamrock. The Taoiseach’s response will be predictable — he will not do it.”

In response, Varadkar said, “Of course I intend to use the opportunity of the meeting I will have with President Trump, his administration, and the vice president to deal with and raise some of those issues.”

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