The more things change, the more they stay the same. The annual St. Patrick’s Day breakfast in South Boston, a chance for Massachusetts public officials to try their hand at stand-up comedy and to get a few jabs in against others, was in a new location this year with a new set of co-hosts, but the fare was still eggs, sausage, a few good one-liners, and plenty of duds.
Notably absent from the breakfast, held this year at the Ironworkers Local 7 hall and hosted by U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch and City Councilor Michael Flaherty, were the video skits that had become common at recent breakfasts. Pols had to rely more on their ability to stand and joke from the podium.
Lynch and Flaherty took on the task of hosting the breakfast when Linda Forry resigned her state Senate seat in January to take a job as an executive at Suffolk Construction. Forry sat near the front of the room Sunday, but was not on the dais with her former colleagues. Several speakers praised Forry including Lynch, who said she had taken the breakfast “to a very high level, from which it will now fall.”
US Sen. Elizabeth Warren said the fact that Lynch and Flaherty were tapped to replace Forry as hosts proves that “it takes two men to do the job of one woman.”
President Trump was again a popular punching bag. Warren held up photo-shopped images of politicians – Joe Biden, Charlie Baker and herself – with Trump’s coiffure in place of their own. Sen. Ed Markey made reference to Russian President Vladimir Putin being “at the highest levels of the Trump White House.”
Gov. Charlie Baker, one of the few Republicans at the breakfast in heavily Democratic South Boston, was also the butt of a number of jokes.
US Rep. Michael Capuano, who said he isn’t a joke-teller, made the importance of driving the British from Boston Harbor in March 1776 the central piece of his remarks.
“It kind of burned me that people took Bunker Hill Day and Evacuation Day as something that was just ‘payroll patriot’ holiday nonsense. These are people who don’t know anything about history, nothing at all,” the congressman said. “People died not just in battles, they died from starvation, they died from disease, they died from freezing ... we are here today because of them.”
Taoiseach gifts Trump with bowl of shamrock
In Washington, Ireland Prime Minister Leo Varadkar kept up the strong annual tradition between the two countries by handing a bowl of shamrock to President Trump in the lead-up to St. Patrick’s Day.
Varadkar trumpeted Ireland’s long-standing relationship with the US and mentioned the plight of undocumented Irish in America and the strong trade between both countries in his speech at the White House today.
Trump, for his part, said that he “loved the Irish” and talked about the strong influence the Irish have had on the US over the years, adding that the Irish were people “full of love, warmth, grit and resolve.”