The remark was the opening quip in his address at the Annual Friends of Ireland Luncheon in Washington earlier today.
You can watch a video of the quip here (along with one of Biden floundering as he tries to say a few words of Irish):
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His full sentence, according to the White House transcript, was: “Father, before I begin — bless me, Father, for I’m about to sin.
“I — well, I just want you to know, I may be Irish, but I’m not stupid. I married Dominic Giacoppa’s daughter.”
The remark drew laughter, but according to some online sources, it was incorrect.
The Washington Examiner, a conservative US news magazine, reports that “Giacoppa was actually first lady Jill Biden’s grandfather, not her father”.
Giacoppa was apparently the Ellis Island spelling of Giacoppo, the name of the First Lady’s grandfather Domenico.
The surname was later Anglicised to Jacobs.
The Washington Examiner adds: “Biden has made the Giacoppa joke in the past, including at an opera ball hosted by then-Italian Ambassador Claudio Bisogniero in 2013.”
Whilst Joe Biden has often extolled his Irish roots, the surname appears to be of Anglo-French derivation, according to www.houseofnames.com .
Mr Biden went on to say (this is taken from the White House transcript): “I’m the proud son of Catherine Eugenia Finnegan Biden.
“And like so many Americans of Irish heritage, I love Ireland and I was raised in a circumstance where you would have thought my whole family — none of — they came in 1844 and 1845, but you’d think they’d all lived in Ireland the last 60 years — the previous 60 years...
“Irish Americans think they’re more Irish than the Irish.
“And — but that’s kind of how I was raised, like so many Americans of Irish heritage — like other people of other heritage as well...
“And — but, you know, the faith we share with one another and the resilience that we’ve all gone through, both in America and in Ireland, you know, are ones that we’ve been knocked down sometimes. Just knocked flat on our back.
And my — my mom’s expression, for real, was, ‘Joey, get up. Just get up. Get up.’
“It’s a simple proposition. It was sort of the Irish of it. You just get up, no matter what. Dust yourself off and move.
“Not — we’re not the only culture that has that view, but it was imbued in my family.”
More from this reporter:
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