After the positive COVID-19 test by the visiting leader, President Joe Biden was forced to meet virtually with Micheal Martin, the Irish Prime Minister. This meant that plans to celebrate St. Patrick's Day at The White House were canceled.
Biden apologized to Martin for the inconvenience of not being able to meet in person this year. Martin dialed in via video link from Blair House, which is just across the street from White House. Next to Biden's Oval Office chair, was placed the traditional crystal bowl of shamrocks that had been gifted to him.
Martin said to Biden, "I'm doing well, and that reminds me of the vaccines and the vaccines prevent severe illnesses."
Martin and Biden joined forces to condemn Russia's invasion in Ukraine. This has shaken the world and caused the U.S. to join its European allies in condemning and imposing severe sanctions against Russia.
Biden stated, "We must be united." "We are certain. However, Putin's brutality in Ukraine and the actions of his troops in Ukraine are just as inhumane."
Martin stated that he saluted Biden for his leadership in mobilizing democracies to fight an "unjustified and immoral war."
Biden also reiterated U.S. support of the Good Friday Agreements, which were signed 1998. They helped to end the sectarian violence that had raged over three decades over Northern Ireland's unification with Ireland or remaining part the United Kingdom.
The first day of celebrations began with the virtual meeting.
Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, stated that Biden was "disappointed” by the virus-induced changes and that the president "was looking forward" to meeting with her today.
She said that Biden is an extrovert and extrovert. Biden prefers to meet in person over using Zoom. She stated that Biden was happy to continue with other events and expressed optimism for next year's celebration.
She said, "There will be more in future."
Martin was also present at the annual Friends of Ireland Luncheon, hosted by Nancy Pelosi, House Speaker of the House. Biden was also there. Martin was not able to attend the White House reception on Thursday night, as Biden did.
Martin was at an event with Biden, Pelosi and learned that he had tested positive Wednesday night. However, the White House stated that Martin was not considered to be a close friend of Martin. Also known as Ireland's taoiseach.
Pelosi claimed that Martin sat next to her at the dinner. Pelosi said that Martin was wearing a mask, but she took it off while they sat down together to eat. He was called aside during the appetizer. He left the table shortly before she was about to award him an award.
All three leaders have been vaccinated.
Pelosi stated that she has been tested nearly every day and will continue to follow the COVID-19 guidelines of the Capitol's Office of the Attending Doctor. Pelosi said that she didn't count how many minutes she spent with the Irish leader.
Biden said that he was happy to see Martin for seven and a quarter minutes at the event.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention define "close contact" as any time a person is in close proximity to an infected person. This means that they spend 15 minutes or more with the patient within a 24-hour period. The CDC states that people who have "close contact" with infected persons do not need to be quarantined if they have been up-to-date on their vaccinations. However, they should wear a well-fitting mask for at least 10 days following their contact.
Pelosi stated, "We're very sad that the Taoiseach has received this diagnosis on St. Patrick's Day."
Many members were present for the lunch. Pelosi introduced Biden at lunch and joked that, while she is Italian, "I do not have Irish grandchildren." After the president's remarks, the bipartisan crowd toasted to Biden's good health.
Pelosi used this experience to push for additional federal COVID-19 assistance after the funding package Biden requested fell apart last week. She pointed out that former President Barack Obama was also recently positive for the virus and asked how people with less resources would fare.
She said, "We want to go on, but we don’t want to leave anyone behind." "We need the money."
This is the Irish-American Biden's 2nd St. Patrick's Day as an official, but it's his first year with significant in-person events since last year's celebrations were halted by the pandemic.