US President Donald Trump intends to boycott the traditional St. Patrick's Day Speakers' lunch in Washington D.C. next week amid growing tensions with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who will host the event.
The Irish Times reports that Trump, along with Vice President Mike Pence, plans to skip the annual event, although Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Leo Varadkar will meet the president in the Oval House as scheduled.
The Speakers' Lunch is an annual lunch hosted by the incumbent Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and is used to strengthen ties between Ireland and the United States. The event is preceded by a "Shamrock Ceremony" in the White House, where the Irish Taoiseach presents the US President with a crystal bowl of shamrocks.
The US president and vice president traditionally attend both the Shamrock Ceremony and the Speakers' Lunch. It is one of the only times in the year when the president visits Congress.
The tradition dates back to the Harry Truman presidency when Irish Ambassador to the United States John Hearne sent Truman a gift of Shamrocks.
In 1959, President Seán T. O'Kelly visited the White House and the event has grown ever since.
But Trump now seems set to skip an integral part of the tradition owing to his malignant relationship with Pelosi.
Relations between Trump and Pelosi have been strained ever since Pelosi assumed the role of House Speaker in January 2019, but they have rapidly deteriorated in recent months.
Trump has reportedly not spoken to Pelosi since his State of the Union address in February when he appeared to refuse to shake her outstretched hand. Pelosi then ripped Trump's speech after the president had finished his address and labeled it a "manifesto of mistruths."
Pelosi and Trump had not spoken for four months prior to the State of the Union address and last spoke on Oct. 16 in a meeting about Syria. That meeting was fraught with insults, with Trump calling Pelosi a "third-grade" politician and Pelosi claiming that Trump had a "meltdown."
Pelosi reportedly walked out of that meeting.
Trump has not hidden his hostility towards Pelosi since she initiated the impeachment process against him last year.