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Varadkar speaks of being judged by 'political actions not sexual orientation' as he meets Pence

The US vice president has been criticised for his views and his legislative record on LGBT rights.

US VICE PRESIDENT Mike Pence has hosted Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and his partner Matt Barrett in his residence this morning. 

Last year, Pence told the Taoiseach Barrett would be welcome in his home if he decided to attend this year.

Pence made the comments during a private conversation between the two, during which Varadkar raised LGBT rights and equality issues.

The US vice president describes himself as a “Christian, a conservative and a Republican” and has been criticised for his views and his legislative record on LGBT rights. 

Leo Varadkar visit to US - Day 2 Source: PA Wire/PA Images

Speaking at Pence’s house, Varadkar said that growing up in Ireland he had always been fascinated by US politics saying that “in many ways it helped to inspire me to believe in the power of politics to do good because ultimately that is what politics is all about”.

“It helped inspire me to run for office. I also knew at the time that I lived in a country where if I tried to be myself, at the time I would have ended up breaking laws.

“But today that has all changed. I stand here as leader of my country, flawed and human, where I am judged by my political actions and not my sexual orientation, my skin tone, gender or religious beliefs.

“And I don’t think my country is the only one in the world where this story is possible. It is found in every country where liberty is cherished.

“We are, after all, all God’s children and that is true of the United States.” 

The vice president was criticised last year for breaking with the tradition and not allowing media access to the pair’s conversation. Members of the press were left on the lawn of the vice president’s home during the meeting.

At the time, the Taoiseach said it was the US administration’s decision to have the meeting in private.

After breakfast, Varadkar will attend the annual Speaker’s Lunch on Capitol Hill, and meet with senior members of Congress.

Later this evening, the Taoiseach will join Trump and his wife Melania, for the traditional shamrock ceremony at the White House, in advance of attending the Ambassador’s St Patrick’s Day Reception. 

TheJournal.ie’s Political Correspondent Christina Finn will be bringing you all the latest updates from Leo Varadkar’s visit to Washington DC this week, including his meeting with US President Donald Trump on Thursday.

Stay up-to-date by following @christinafinn8@TJ_Politics  and TheJournal.ie’s Facebook page

With reporting by Daragh Brophy 

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