Leo Varadkar, Ireland’s first openly gay cabinet minister, says he is not a fan of Vice President-elect Mike Pence.
The Minister for Social Protection said in a recent interview that he “profoundly disagreed” with Pence’s past support for the barbaric practice of gay conversion therapy, as IrishCentral reports.
Speaking of the incoming administration, Varadkar said,
“I don’t like what Trump and Pence stand for, particularly on social issues. The right approach, I think, with anyone is to respect their religion, respect their values and engage with them. That’s how you win over minds and soften hearts.”
He added of the VP-elect,
“When it comes to Mike Pence, I’d like him to come to Ireland. I’d personally like to meet him. I’d love to tell him my story but more importantly I’d love to tell him the story of our country. The country of his ancestors and how we went from being one of the most conservative countries in the world [to where we are now]. That’s the way to deal with things.”
As for Pence being booed at Hamilton, Varadkar said,
“It was quite ugly. He was booed on his entrance, booed during the play but at the end what happened was something very beautiful in my view and very powerful; as he was about to leave the cast lined up on the stage and the main actor who actually played a Vice President, Vice President Burr.. he stood up and spoke to Mike Pence and he welcomed him, said he hoped he’d took something from it… and he expressed the concerns of some Americans that the new administration might not protect them and that it might undermine inalienable rights and freedoms that are so much part of America.
“And to me I felt that was the right approach, that’s the approach we should have when we deal with the new administration.”
Varadkar came out as gay in 2015 in the run-up to Ireland’s same-sex referendum. He said of his sexuality at the time,
“It’s not something that defines me. I’m not a half-Indian politician, or a doctor politician or a gay politician for that matter. It’s just part of who I am, it doesn’t define me, it is part of my character I suppose.”
Varadkar is currently thought to be the logical next-in-line for the role of Taoiseach, the head of government in Ireland.
Watch Varadkar deliver a speech on behalf of same-sex marriage in 2015, below.