The US President was forced to watch from the sidelines as Ireland’s Taoiseach Enda Kenny delivered a stunning address that claimed immigrants “lived the words of John F Kennedy long before he uttered them”.
A jovial Trump introduced Kenny at a reception to celebrate Ireland’s patron, Saint Patrick, on Thursday evening.
But Trump’s expression became sullen as Kenny delivered his heartfelt speech on showing compassion towards migrants, given the US President’s long-standing opposition to immigration.
Cautiously, Kenny said: “It’s fitting that we gather here each year to celebrate St Patrick and his legacy. He too was an immigrant.
“And though of course he is the patron saint of Ireland, around the globe he is also a symbol of, indeed the patron of, immigrants.
“Here in America, in your great country, 35 million people claim Irish heritage.
“And the Irish have contributed to the economic, social, political and cultural life of this great country over the last 200 years.
Ireland came to America because, deprived of liberty, opportunity, safety, and even food itself, the Irish believed - and four decades before Lady Liberty lifted her lamp - we were the wretched refuse on the teeming shore
”We believed in the shelter of America, in the compassion of America, in the opportunity of America.
“We came and we became Americans. We lived the words of John F Kennedy long before he uttered them.
“We asked not what America could do for us, but what we could do for America - and we still do.”
Just minutes earlier, Trump suffered another major gaffe by reciting an Irish proverb he had “loved ... for many many, years”.
But nobody in Ireland seemed to have heard of it - and it didn’t appear to be a proverb either.
The extract Trump read out went:
“Always remember to forget the friends that proved untrue
But never forget to remember those that have stuck by you.”
Trump added: “We know that - politically speaking, politically speaking, a lot of us know that - well - it’s a great phrase.”
But most Irish people seemed more confused than inspired.
In fact, some speculated the quote actually came from a poem by a Nigerian writer called Albashir Adam Alhassan.
Ireland and America’s premiers have a tricky relationship. There are an estimated 50,000 Irish citizens living in the US illegally, who could face deportation if Trump follows through on his pledge made during the presidential campaign to expel migrants with documentation.
Kenny addressed the issue head on yesterday, telling Trump “we would like this to be sorted”.
He added: “It would remove a burden of so many that they could now stand in the light and say, ‘Now I’m free to contribute to America as I know I can’ - that’s what people want.”