St. Patrick Was Of Course An Immigrant

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Rallying for immigrants' rights. Photo by Artur Widak/Sipa US/AP

The latest visit here of a foreign leader, Irish Taoiseach or Prime Minister Enda Kenny, went as swimmingly as anything else in Trumpland these days. First, there was a series of gaffes from the Orange One and his cohorts: Green Make America Great Again hats featuring a four-leaf clover not shamrock as intended, a “Lá Fheile Phadraig” St. Patrick's Day greeting that mangled the Irish Gaelic - On Twitter: "It's "Lá fhéile Pádraig" ya stupid orange git! a toast by Paul Ryan touting their mutual Irish love of golf - which is Scottish - and raising a "despicable" pint of Guinness much derided on social media as looking like Flint's tap water and "Fake Brews!"

There was also an awkward meeting between the two leaders where, the Irish press wrote, "the tension was only massive." After reporting on aides desperately shutting down questions about Kenny having earlier called Trump's policies "racist," reporters helpfully added, "Disappointingly, Trump didn’t look as orange as we expected. More a shade of weak Fanta on the face with a pale tinge of cold porridge around the eyes...For what it’s worth, Enda has bigger hands."

The highlight of the circus was the Friends Of Ireland luncheon where Trump recited for his "new Irish friend," in the stilted tones of a nervous fourth-grader dutifully reading a history report, a so-called, utterly indecipherable Irish proverb, "and this is a good one, this is one I like, I’ve heard it for many, many years and I love it." To wit: "Always remember to forget the friends that proved untrue, but never forget to remember those that have stuck by you." To which many people responded with, HUH? And noted that it was likely plucked from Google's here-are-some-quick-cliched-favorite Irish proverbs websites when in fact it seems to have come from a poem written by a Nigerian poet, probably Muslim. Others suggested more suitable proverbial options - "An empty sack does not stand" - or the more concise retort, "'Irish proverb' me hole."

The zenith of the whole mess was an in-your-face speech by Kenny on a subject close to home: For years, Ireland's estimated 25,000 undocumented immigrants have been fighting for legalization in what they view as "our shared struggle" on both sides of the ocean. Before Kenny's visit, undocumented immigrants sent a letter of support to their U.S. counterparts declaring, "You are not alone in this time of trouble." "We know your struggle. We feel your pain," they wrote. "The lives you live in America, we live in Ireland." At Thursday's event, Kenny pointedly echoed that theme, noting that "St. Patrick...was of course an immigrant."  Over 35 million Irish have come to America, he went on, because, "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... And we still do." He should have ended with a final, apt and actual Irish proverb for Trump as he glowered nearby: May the road rise to meet you on the way out.

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Bunch of green-tied malarkey

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