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Absolutely nobody turned up to support Mike Pence in Ireland

Emma Powys Maurice September 5, 2019

A video showing empty streets in the Irish village of Doonbeg, where Mike Pence stayed for two days (Twitter/@JesusChrysler15)

US vice president Mike Pence didn’t exactly receive a warm welcome on his official visit to Ireland, with videos showing not a single person turning out to greet him at his family’s ancestral home.

While in Ireland, Pence stayed at Trump’s five-star private golf resort and hotel. Pence has connections with the local village, Doonbeg, which is where his great-grandmother grew up.

Pence’s security detail lined the streets of Doonbeg with crowd control barriers in anticipation of his arrival – but this turned out to be completely unnecessary.

Pence faced strong criticism for staying at the small coastal town, which required commuting 181 miles back and forth to Dublin, where he was holding meetings with government officials.

The empty streets stood in stark contrast to Barack Obama’s 2011 visit, where he was met by a crowd of thousands of well-wishers.

Twitter users were quick to draw comparisons between the two state visits.

The vice president, who is notorious for his “toxic” views on LGBT+ rights, met with the openly gay Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and his partner.

The White House’s deputy press secretary tried to claim that Pence’s meeting with Varadkar meant that he couldn’t be anti-gay.

This was quickly shot down by Chasten Buttigieg, husband of Pete Buttigieg, who pointed out that dining with a gay man doesn’t mean you’re any less homophobic.

Mike Pence and the Taoiseach hold a press conference in Dublin, Ireland (Charles McQuillan/Getty)

Courtesies were maintained throughout the visit but Pence angered some by positioning himself on the side of Boris Johnson’s Brexit policy, which risks Britain crashing out of the EU with no deal.

Varadkar quickly pointed out the impact that a hard border would have on Ireland. He reminded Pence that Brexit risked being “deeply disruptive, especially for the people in Northern Ireland”.

The Irish Times said the vice president’s views on Brexit, immigration and gay rights “are anathema to a majority of people in modern Ireland” and “impossible to ignore”.

It summed up the state visit with the headline: “That didn’t go very well.”

More: brexit, Ireland, Leo Varadkar, Mike Pence

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