Donald Trump will not attend this year’s St Patrick’s Day lunch on Capitol Hill – because Nancy Pelosi will be there.
The lunch, hosted by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, has been held every year since 1983 and has only been skipped by presidents four times since then, Politico reports. The last time it happened was when George W Bush decided not to attend in 2003, shortly before the start of the Iraq War.
White House spokesman Judd Deere told Politico: “Since the Speaker has chosen to tear this nation apart with her actions and her rhetoric, the president will not participate in moments where she so often chooses to drive discord and disunity, and will instead celebrate the rich history and strong ties between the United States and Ireland at the White House on 12 March.
“The relationship between our two countries has never been stronger, and the president looks forward to welcoming the prime minister of Ireland for the annual Shamrock Bowl presentation.”
Usually vice presidents have stood in when a commander in chief has been unable to attend, although Mike Pence will not be going either.
Tensions between Ms Pelosi and Mr Trump have escalated dramatically over the past year.
In September she launched an impeachment against the president for trying to pressure Ukraine into interfering in the 2020 election by digging up or fabricating dirt on his political opponents.
In October she walked out of a White House meeting on the situation in Iraq.
And In February she ostentatiously tore up a copy of Mr Trump’s controversial State of the Union address as he finished delivering it to a joint session of Congress.
Following Mr Trump’s acquittal on impeachment charges by his allies in the Senate, he lambasted her at a prayer breakfast they both attended, accusing her of religious hypocrisy for having said that she prayed for him.
Ms Pelosi’s spokesman, Drew Hammill, said: “There has never been stronger support in the Congress and in the country for the US-Ireland bilateral relationship. One would think that the White House could set petty, partisan politics aside for this historic occasion.”