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Trump welcomes Irish prime minister to White House

By CATHERINE LUCEY, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump said he plans to visit Ireland as he welcomed the country’s prime minister to the White House on Thursday.

Trump greeted Leo Varadkar — the recently elected Irish leader or Taoiseach — for the country’s traditional St. Patrick’s Day visit. Asked if he would visit Ireland, Trump said “I will. I love it.” He offered no further details.

Trump said the two countries had an “outstanding relationship.”

“A tremendous number of Irish are living in New York, where I grew up and they’re living in the United States,” said Trump, who also owns a golf club in Ireland. “And these are truly wonderful people.”

Trump was also pushed over whether he would visit the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, a key unresolved issue in Brexit talks so far. He said that was “an interesting border also.”

Both wearing a bunch of shamrocks on their jackets, the leaders were expected to discuss trade and immigration, among other issues, at a one-on-one meeting. Then they planned to attend a luncheon at the U.S. Capitol. And in the evening, Varadkar was set to participate in the annual shamrock ceremony at the White House, presenting Trump with a bowl of Ireland’s famous greens.

The 39-year-old Varadkar is Ireland’s youngest prime minister. He’s the son of an Indian immigrant and the first openly gay politician in the post. He noted that he was in Washington years ago as a Congressional intern, but never saw the Oval Office.

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