President Joe Biden made a series of cringeworthy jokes at the expense of Irish people at a St. Patrick’s Day event Friday.
While speaking at the annual Friends of Ireland Luncheon with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar Friday afternoon, Biden made a series of jokes stereotyping Irish people as drunks and criminals. Biden said that because he doesn’t drink and doesn’t have relatives in jail, he’s “really not Irish.” Twitter users pointed out the stereotypes, and also that he does, in fact, have relatives in legal trouble.
Biden began his remarks with a quote attributed to the 20th-century Irish diplomat Shane Leslie. “Every St. Patrick’s Day, every Irishman goes out to find another Irishman to make a speech to,” Biden said. “Well, that’s why I’m here.”
He then recounted a story from his time as vice president, when a previous prime minister, or Taoiseach, told former President Obama to stop sending Biden on trips. “[T]he Taoiseach — I brought him into the Oval and he sat down. And before Barack could say anything, he said ‘For God’s sake, Barack, let the boy come home.’” Biden said in a butchered Irish accent. “‘Let him come home.’ And he said, ‘You keep sending him to places like Afghanistan, Iraq, and all the — let him come home.’”
Next, Biden talked about a previous trip to Ireland to visit his ancestral family. “It was a great experience,” he said. “I’d been to Ireland many times, but not to actually look up to find my actual family members — and there are so many. And they actually weren’t in jail.”
“And one of the things that — and the Finnegans were from County Louth,” he said of his distant family line. “And they’re still — if you go to County Louth, there’s still a place called ‘Finnegan’s Pub,’ which is — it’s related to my family. And I’m the only Irishman you’ve ever met, though, that’s never had a drink. So, I’m okay. I’m really not Irish.”
Commenters under a New York Post tweet blasted Biden for stereotyping the Irish.
“We’ve found the one nationality it’s still acceptable to make fun of!” one Twitter user commented.
“guy did the first irish american hatecrime since like 1910,” one user tweeted.
“As an Irishman, I wouldn’t even *mind* this, and would think it kinda funny… If it didn’t come from a guy who’s continually lecturing me and everyone else how racist *WE* are…” another user wrote.
“This is about the most Irish-American (pejorative) thing a yank can say,” said another.
“Joe Biden is in fact less Irish than Paul Ryan and Kevin McCarthy,” The Spectator editor at-large Ben Domenech noted. “Biden is an English name and his paternal lineage is overwhelmingly English.”
Other users mocked Biden’s comment about not having family in jail, noting that several members of the Biden family are currently in trouble with the law.
“Joe Biden’s relatives have had many MANY serious run ins with the law — but have managed to avoid jail time in every case,” the New York Post’s Jon Levine tweeted, linking to a Post article from 2020 detailing legal troubles of his niece Caroline, daughter Ashley, brother Frank, and son Hunter.
“He’s sent two kids and a niece to court-ordered rehab,” one user added. “The Bidens are doing more than their part to ruin the curve.”
“No but he has a son who isn’t sober and should be in jail,” said another, referring to Hunter‘s shady business dealings.