US president Joe Biden has revealed that words from Taoiseach Micheál Martin had a big impact on his presidency thus far.
While in conversation with New York Times columnist David Brooks, Mr Biden spoke about how the world views America in a post-Trump world.
He believes the US is in a fight to retain its status as the leading nation in the world.
The world is starting to look elsewhere, to places such as China, where previously America would have led the way, the 78-year-old said.
He revealed that it was a comment made by the Taoiseach that drove this new world view home for him.
“The most devastating comment made after I was elected – it wasn’t so much about me – but it was by the Irish taoiseach saying ‘Well, America can’t lead. They can’t even get their arms around Covid.”
The two leaders have enjoyed a positive relationship since Mr Biden was elected last year with the 46th US president repeatedly voicing his commitment to the Good Friday Agreement in the wake of Brexit.
In a speech last week, Mr Martin said he supports Mr Biden’s commitment to multilateralism and democracy.
He said Mr Biden is “bringing a new beginning to the relationship of the United States with the wider world”.
Mr Biden’s Irish roots came through in the conversation with Mr Brooks when they were discussing how his world view – and, as a result, his leadership – have been shaped.
Speaking about his childhood and how his father struggled for much of his life after he returned from World War II, Mr Biden spoke about the importance of human dignity. Something he believes Irish people place a high value on.
“I think it’s because when you’ve been deprived of dignity you put a high, high premium on it,” he said.
He recalled that in midcentury America “to be Irish was to be second class” adding “the English owned the town”.
Due to the pandemic, Mr Biden has yet to meet the Taoiseach in person since his election in November 2020 but he has expressed his enthusiasm about visiting Ireland once it is safe to do so.
Next month, Mr Biden will make his first overseas trip when he visits England for the G7 summit and Brussels for a Nato summit.
There are currently no official plans for his first Irish visit nor for Mr Martin to visit the US.