Biden to McCarthy: We can 'change this direction, the extremes in both our parties'
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy told President Biden he strives for the relationship GOP President Ronald Reagan had with Democrat Speaker Tip O'Neill.
President Joe Biden said Friday that he and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy could work together to "change this direction, the extremes" in which their respective political parties are heading.
Biden made the comments at the Friends of Ireland luncheon on Capitol Hill after McCarthy told him that he strives for the relationship former GOP President Ronald Reagan had with former Democrat House Speaker Tip O'Neill.
Alluding to his and Biden's negotiations over raising the debt limit, McCarthy pointed out Reagan and O'Neill worked together on fiscal policy and other issues.
"To President Biden, from one Irish-American to another, I want to strive every day to live up to the example of President Reagan and Tip O'Neill," McCarthy said at the luncheon. "Our positions may be reversed, but our goals can be the same when we put this country first. I've watched an Irish heritage create bonds."
McCarthy citied his relationship with former Democrat Rep. Joe Kennedy, who is now the United States special envoy for Northern Ireland.
The California Republican also said some people are saying a "clash is brewing" between him and Biden that Ireland Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, who also attended the luncheon, might be able to settle it.
"Which one us is more Irish?" McCarthy asked Varadkar.
Biden said he agreed with McCarthy, saying, "there's no reason why we can't find common ground."
In Biden's remarks, he told McCarthy there's "no reason why we can't hope to change this direction the extremes in both our parties are pushing, it's important. I think it's really important and that's the power of friendship.
"I think it's the power and strength of our partnership if we work at it."
Biden said he takes pride in his Irish heritage and recalled visiting Ireland to find his family members.
"There are so many and they actually weren't in jail," he said, jokingly. "But all kidding aside, I met the Blewitts and the Finnegans."