Varadkar, in his own Words, I am Half Indian, and half Irish, and Homosexual, Fine, But many people at present, are asking, is Varadkar, Fit to be Taoiseach, of Ireland. The comment was Nasty, and deeply Insulting.

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Taoiseach apologises for making ‘intern’ joke in clear reference to Bill Clinton affair during Washington trip

• Yesterday 08:37

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TAOISEACH Leo Varadkar has apologised after making a joke that was a clear reference to Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with Monica McWilliams and Hillary Clinton at the ‘Women at the Helm’ conference at Georgetown University in Washington, DC, during his visit to the US for St Patrick’s Day. Photo: PA© Provided by

Mr Varadkar told an American audience that he was a Washington intern “when some parents would have had cause for concern about what would happen to interns in Washington”.

Mr Varadkar was aged 21 when he served as an intern in Congress.

Mr Clinton was in the White House at the time and had an affair with intern Ms Lewinsky that led to an impeachment process.

Some of the audience laughed when Mr Varadkar made his comment this evening at the Washington Ireland Program event during his St Patrick’s Day trip to the US.

However, a spokesperson for the Taoiseach later issued a statement apologising for the “off-the-cuff” remark.

Earlier in the day Mr Varadkar met former US first lady Hillary Clinton at a Women at the Helm conference at Georgetown University in Washington.

Mrs Clinton became US secretary of state after the scandal and ran for the presidency herself in 2016 in the hopes of following her husband into the White House. However, she was defeated by Donald Trump.

The former US president’s affair with Ms Lewinsky occurred in 1995 and 1996 when she was 23 and Mr Clinton was 50.

Ms Lewinsky has spoken of how she was publicly shamed for years over the events and is now an activist and public speaker who campaigns against cyber bullying.

This evening, a spokesperson for the Taoiseach said: “At the Washington Ireland Program event today the Taoiseach was reminiscing about his time in Washington DC as an intern 23 years ago. He made an ill-judged off-the-cuff remark which he regrets. He apologises for any offence caused to anyone concerned.”

Mr Varadkar was an intern for congressman Jack Quinn in the year 2000 — under the Washington Ireland Program when it was operating under the name Future Leaders.

Bill and Hillary Clinton are due in Ireland next month to help mark the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, when current US president Joe Biden will also visit.

Mr Varadkar is due to meet President Biden on Friday for the traditional St Patrick’s Day visit to the White House by the Taoiseach.

In his speech at the event, Mr Varadkar said when he undertook his own internship under the programme there were four interns from the Republic and 30 from the North.

“It was very much a learning experience and we learned as much from each other than from anything else,” he said.

“Capitol Hill along with the other organisations the 2023 students will be in, are great training grounds for any young person hoping to enter the world of politics, public affairs and leadership.”

On the Good Friday Agreement, he said the 25th anniversary “is an opportunity for all of us to renew our commitment to the values and vision contained within the Agreement”.

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