On Tuesday, President Trump called Ireland's new Prime Minister Leo Varadkar to congratulate him on winning the latest election. While on the phone, he made eye contact with an Irish reporter standing to the side of the room, The Washington Post reports. As he informed Varadkar that the phone conversation was happening in front of the reporters, he called the woman over, telling the Prime Minister, "We have all of this beautiful Irish press." Um, awkward?
The woman, reporter Caitríona Perry, approached Trump's desk as requested, then introduced herself. In response, Trump said to Varadkar, "She has a nice smile on her face, so I bet she treats you well." Yes, because a "nice smile" definitely means a reporter will "treat" a country leader well? ...What? Not cool, Trump.
The reporters in the room seem to politely laugh after the encounter, but Perry later described it in a tweet as "bizarre."
— Caitriona Perry (@CaitrionaPerry) June 27, 2017
Trump's choice to compliment Perry on her physical appearance has gotten a variety of reactions on social media. Some say he was just trying to be nice, while others say it was awkward, creepy and even sexist.
I'm sure there's a moment from the event where he called upon a male journalist to explain to 3rd party they're handsome & have a nice smile
— Music is My Teacher (@TurnVinyl) June 28, 2017
I'm not sure why he went out of his way to give a reporter a compliment in the middle of an important political phone call, but it definitely doesn't sit well with me. How about a compliment for the undeniable reporting skills that landed her inside the Oval Office to begin with, or even her ability to handle an awkward encounter with a president with such grace? She's a professional journalist, not a piece of decor. As usual, Trump's treatment of women leaves something to be desired.