Joe Biden bids ‘Mahty’ Walsh adieu in a (bad) Boston accent

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The president took a shot at dropping his Rs for a moment Wednesday.

President Joe Biden shakes hands with outgoing Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh, during a ceremony announcing his nomination of Julie Su to serve as the new secretary of labor, in the East Room of the White House, Wednesday, March 1, 2023. Susan Walsh / AP

As Marty Walsh drops out of the Biden administration for a new gig, so too, for a moment Wednesday, did Joe Biden’s Rs.

As the president discussed his nomination of Julie Su, the deputy labor secretary, to succeed Walsh as the nation’s secretary of labor, he put on, what is presumedly, his best Boston accent to praise the former mayor of the Hub.

“We’ve had no better partner … than Mahty Walsh from Bahstin,” Biden said, emulating the standard tourist’s take on Walsh’s non-rhotic native tongue.

“Marty has several claims to fame. He’s a proud son of Irish immigrants, mayor of Boston, was for the last two years [the] secretary of labor — and I assume he knows something about hockey,” Biden continued with a chuckle, referencing Walsh’s soon-to-be new job as the incoming executive director of the NHL Players’ Association.

“I asked him to take me with him, and he wouldn’t,” he quipped.

The president’s remarks evoked the warm friendship between the two officials, forged long before Walsh left City Hall for a job in the White House two years ago.

Famously, in 2013, Biden, then vice president, called the wrong Marty Walsh when trying to reach the then mayor-elect to congratulate him on his victory.

Still, when he did eventually get in touch with the right Walsh, Biden kept in contact with the mayor throughout his tenure as the city’s top elected official.

Upon receiving Biden’s nomination for secretary in 2021, Walsh recalled how they “spent many memorable days together” in Boston, including at a rally for striking Stop & Shop workersthe mayor’s second inauguration, and Biden’s  speech on the anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing.

“I’ve known Marty a long time,” Biden said Wednesday. “I know his heart.”

The president heaped praise on Walsh for being a commanding force in helping his administration hit record job growth and pass laws designed to create jobs for years to come, from the $1 trillion infrastructure package signed in 2021.

“Marty put us on track to meet the bold goal of a million new registered apprenticeships by 2025 — that means training and pathways for everyone from teachers to truckers to cybersecurity specialists to construction workers,” Biden said. “Marty played a pivotal role in delivering rail workers this historic pay raise they got to prevent a potential catastrophic strike at the same time.”

Biden went on to thank Walsh for “standing up for labor … for ordinary people.”

“If I ever want anybody in the foxhole with me, I want Marty Walsh there,” he said.

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