Mike Pence Derided by Ireland's Media After His Brexit Faux Pas: 'How Dare He?'

The Irish media's reaction to Vice President Mike Pence, who was visiting the country this week, was, at best, less than complimentary, with one acerbic columnist noting that the Republican, metaphorically speaking, "s*** on the new carpet in the spare room."

Pence stayed, controversially, at President Donald Trump's Doonbeg golf resort on the west coast of Ireland, flying to Dublin on the opposite coast for his official meetings before returning to the town in County Clare, an ancestral home of his family.

Irish Times writer Miriam Lord mocked Pence's "misty-eyed" references to the "old country" as he "lards on his Mother Machree schtick on both sides of the Atlantic," before kicking Ireland's President Michael D Higgins and Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Leo Varadkar "where it hurts"—on Brexit.

"As Pence read from the autocue and Irish eyes definitely stopped smiling, it was clear he was channeling His Master's Voice. Trump is a fan of Brexit and of Boris," Lord wrote.

"And this, after such a lovely morning, with Pence and his mother meeting the Taoiseach and his mother. His Irish mother, as Mike calls her. He dotes on Nancy. So he should have known that any Irish mammy will tell you if you can't say anything good, say nothing at all."

Ireland and the European Union are at odds with the British government over Brexit on the issue of the "backstop," a measure designed to ensure the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland stays open. The EU wants the backstop. The U.K. government does not.

"Instead, he veered off his rather gushing statement following his meeting with the Taoiseach into some crunching Brexit remarks about our duty to do right by Boris Johnson and the UK," Lord wrote.

"As the air in the steamy ballroom turned decidedly frosty, Pence urged Ireland and the European Union 'to negotiate in good faith' with the new British prime minister. The local crowd raised eyebrows and wondered what he thinks the aforementioned EU has been doing for the last three years, if not negotiating in good faith with the UK."

The Irish Examiner's political editor Daniel McConnell criticized the "cheek" of Pence following his remarks on Brexit. "How dare he? The cheek of him coming here, eating our food, clogging up our roads and then having the nerve to humiliate his hosts," McConnell wrote.

"In a highly curtailed and controlled media outing in Farmleigh where pesky reporters were barred from asking questions, Pence did the dirty and backed Johnson and not Ireland. Having hyped up his Irish roots and his previous times here, Pence made it clear it is for the EU and Ireland to bend the knee to Johnson if a hard Brexit is to be avoided."

Meanwhile, the political editor of the Irish Independent Kevin Doyal reported on the "dismay" in Ireland at Pence's "strident statement while in the company of Leo Varadkar," during which he reaffirmed the Trump administration's support for Brexit and Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Varadkar pressed on Pence the importance of the Good Friday Agreement, a peace deal signed in 1998 to end The Troubles, a decades-long civil conflict in Northern Ireland between Catholic Irish Republicans, Protestant Unionists, and the British Army.

Part of that fragile agreement was keeping an open border. A no deal Brexit, which is on the cards for October 31 under Johnson, threatens to put in place a hard border, wrecking the Good Friday Agreement and threatening to reignite violence in Northern Ireland.

Trump has promised the U.K. a speedy and comprehensive trade deal once Brexit has taken place. But Pence said in Ireland that Brexit should maintain the "strong foundation forged by the Good Friday Agreement."

When Trump visited Ireland earlier this year, he was greeted in Doonbeg by crowds of both supporters and protesters. While there were a handful of protesters against Pence, an evangelical Christian when he arrived, by Tuesday evening there were few interested.

Ian Begley, a reporter for the Irish Herald, posted a video to Twitter of Morrisseys, a Doonbeg restaurant owned by a distant relative of Pence where he was due to dine. Security fences were erected and police were on hand—but nobody was there.

As Begley wryly noted in a tweet: "Mike Pence expected to arrive in Doonbeg shortly. Hopefully gardai can manage the large crowds."

A couple of supporters did show up in the end. They told Begley: "We say we love him and thank god for his life...He's our brother in Christ. Without Christ, you're lost."

Mike Pence Ireland Brexit Doonbeg Leo Varadkar
Vice President Mike Pence meets Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at Farmleigh House on September 3, 2019 in Dublin, Ireland. The vice president is on an official two-day visit to Ireland and is staying at President Trump's golf course resort Doonbeg in County Clare. Pool/Getty Images
Mike Pence Derided by Ireland's Media After His Brexit Faux Pas: 'How Dare He?' | World