His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America, and members of the Greek American community were warmly welcomed to the White House by President Joe Biden for a celebration marking the 203rd Anniversary of Greek Independence. The distinct recognition by the White House has been an honored tradition since 1987.

Addressing the President in a room filled to capacity, His Eminence thanked President Biden for his continued love of Greece, Cyprus and Hellenism and his support of democracy and the ideals of the Greeks which have played an important and historical role in forming the democratic government we experience in America.

“Mr. President, we thank you for your commitment to Greece and to Cyprus, and for a just and peaceful solution to this Island Nation, that has been scarred by a violent invasion and forced division for half a century, a solution that will abide by the international law and a rules-based international order. We are on your side, Mr. President, just as you are on the side of democracy and liberty” remarked Archbishop Elpidophoros. Read His Eminence’s full remarks here.

President Biden, in his remarks, reflected on the important contributions of Greece and Greek-Americans to the United States and global community, especially the gift of democracy. “It is the precious gift Greece has given the world” he stated.

President Biden emphasized his love and respect for His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. “I have found inspiration in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America which has been a clarion voice for social justice for decades.”

This year’s Proclamation, signed by President Biden which recognizes Greek Independence Day as a national day of celebration and Greek and American democracy states, “Today, the partnership, alliance, and friendship shared by Greece and the United States is stronger than ever before — due in large part to the culture, courage, and character of the Greek American community. From standing up for social justice and advancing civil rights to striving to make our Nation freer and fairer, Greek Americans have pushed our country forward, fanning the flame of liberty that first sparked in Athens thousands of years ago. Throughout my career, I have been lucky to see this heart, hope, and commitment up close, and I have drawn lifelong inspiration from Greek American friends, families, leaders, and political mentors. Full text here.

Among those attending this remarkable celebration included: United States Ambassador to the Hellenic Republic George Tsunis; Ambassador of Greece to the US Ekaterini Nassika; Ambassador of Cyprus to the US Evangelos Savva; Lieutenant Governor of California Eleni Kounalakis; members of the Archdiocesan Council, Leadership 100, Order of St. Andrew Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate; the First Vice President of the National Philoptochos Society Anita Kartalopoulos; President of the National Sisterhood of Presvyteres Mary Christy; the Commander and Vice Commander of the Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate Dr. Anthony Limberakis and The Hon. B. Theodore Bozonelis, leadership of AHEPA including Supreme President Savas Tsivicos and Grand President of the Maids of Athena Allie Tsenekos; Andy and Mike Manatos, clergy and parish leaders.
President Biden has a long history of attempting to tie himself to a variety of ethnic groups and cultures.

Biden reminded guests at the White House for a Greek Independence Day celebration this week of his claim that he inherited the nickname “Biden-opoulos” in his home state of Delaware.

Attributing his early political success to the Greek community, Biden said one of the things he “learned early on was that I had a very close relationship with the Greek American community — for real, in the heart and I mean real — and the church there as well.”

Biden said he believed “every Greek American in Delaware voted for” him during his 1972 campaign for the Senate.

“By the way, as some of the Delawareans would tell you, that’s where I acquired a nickname I’m very proud of: I am Joe ‘Biden-opoulos.’ That’s the nickname I got,” he said.

It wasn’t the first time Biden mentioned his Greek-inspired nickname. During a 2009 White House event, then Vice President Biden said he was “an honorary Greek.”


Joe Biden
President Biden speaks during the Greek Independence Day in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., on April 4, 2024. (Celal Gunes/Anadolu via Getty Images)
Biden’s remarks to Greek Americans gathered in the East Room of the White House are in line with his previous attempts to relate himself to ethnicities and communities from all across the world.

In September 2022, during a reception at the White House to celebrate the Jewish New Year, Biden told the group Jewish Americans at the Rosh Hashanah that he “went to shul” more than them. Shul is the Yiddish word for synagogue.

“You all think I’m kidding. He can tell you I’m not. I’m not,” Biden said to laughter at the time, pointing at a rabbi from Wilmington, Delaware.

“I’m a practicing Catholic, but I’d go to services on Saturday and on Sunday,” he added. Biden then reaffirmed that he was not kidding about the statement.

Biden has also claimed during his presidency to have been raised by the Puerto Rican community.

While discussing Hurricane Fiona response and recovery efforts from Puerto Rico in October 2022, Biden declared that he was “sort of raised in the Puerto Rican community at home, politically.”


President Biden in Puerto Rico
President Biden, flanked by first lady Jill Biden (right) and Puerto Rico Governor Pedro Pierluisi, delivers remarks in the aftermath of Hurricane Fiona in Ponce, Puerto Rico, on October 3, 2022. ( SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)
At the time, Biden also claimed Delaware has “a very, in relative terms, large Puerto Rican population in Delaware — relative to our population.”

Biden has also attempted to make headway with Black voters in America in recent years by claiming he came “out of a Black community.”

“I come out of a Black community, in terms of my support,” Biden said during a presidential primary debate in November 2019. “If you notice, I have more people supporting me in the Black community that have announced for me because they know me, they know who I am.”

While responding to the criticism over his remarks, Biden said a few months later, “I’m not saying, ‘I am Black.’ But I want to tell you something — I have spent my whole career with the Black community.”

Some months later, in May 2020, Biden went on to claim that Black voters “ain’t black” if they have a hard time determining whether to support him or his political rival Donald Trump. He later walked back that comment, claiming he “shouldn’t have been such a wise guy” or “so cavalier.”

But it doesn’t stop there. Biden, who was born in Philadelphia and moved to Delaware at the age of 10, has also attempted to connect with Italian and Polish communities by touting his Irish ancestry and Catholic religion.

Joe Biden, Michael Martin
President Biden meets virtually with Micheál Martin, who served at the time as Ireland’s taoiseach, in the Oval Office of the White House on March 17, 2022, in Washington, DC. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Biden said in 2020 that he “grew up in a heavily Irish Catholic community in Scranton, Pennsylvania,” as well as a “heavily Italian Polish community in Claymont, Delaware.”

Biden’s connection to Ireland is something that he has mentioned often.

“We Irish are the only people who are nostalgic for the future,” Biden said in 2021 ahead of a virtual meeting with Micheál Martin, who served at the time as Ireland’s taoiseach.

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