White House press secretary says she doesn’t know who One Direction is ahead of Niall Horan performance

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Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House’s press secretary, is making headlines for her opinion — or lack thereof — of One Direction.

It was announced Thursday that Niall Horan, who was part of the band and is from Ireland, would be in Washington, D.C., on Friday for “a special performance to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day!”

Jean-Pierre made a couple faux pas during her Thursday press briefing, such as mispronouncing Niall’s name and then admitting she is not familiar with his once world-famous band.

“Niall is a multi-Platinum-selling singer/songwriter who has toured the globe, including with One Direction,” she had said. “Gonna keep my comments to myself on One Direction, I don’t know who they are. I’m sorry. Many of you, I’m sure, do.”  

That comment drew laughter from members of the press.

The press secretary added she’s aware a “few members of my team are truly excited” to welcome Niall to the White House.

Niall said in a tweet on Thursday, “It’s an honour to be invited and represent my country. Looking forward to performing and celebrating St. Patrick’s Day at the White House.”

It is unclear at what time Horan will perform Friday evening.

While Horan hasn’t performed at the White House before, it’s not the first time he was invited. When the Obamas were in the White House, they said One Direction band members had an “open invitation” to perform there, and identified daughters Sasha and Malia as big fans.

President Joe Biden, who often plays up his Irish heritage, will also welcome Leo Varadkar — Ireland’s taoiseach, or prime minister — on Friday for a bilateral meeting and shamrock bowl handover, an Oval Office tradition to mark St. Patrick’s Day dating back to 1952.

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