Fresh off his trip to the Vatican, Vice President Joe Biden joked on Wednesday that the United States narrowly missed an opportunity to have the first American pope.
Speaking to an Irish delegation gathered at his residence for a St. Patrick's Day breakfast honoring Prime Minister Enda Kenny, Biden joshed that Boston's archbishop, Cardinal Sean O'Malley, narrowly missed being chosen as the next pope.
“We almost made it big. ... We almost had a chance at power. We came that close, that close,” Biden said, according to the White House pool report.
He then jokingly blamed Terry Donilon, O'Malley's communications director and brother of White House National Security Adviser Tom Donilon, because Donilon “said something wrong.”
“We could have had an American-Irish Catholic pope, but we would have shared him with you,” Biden said.
Wednesday's breakfast was originally scheduled for March 19, when official White House St. Patrick's Day celebrations were to take place. But the breakfast was postponed due to the vice president's trip to attend Pope Francis' installation.