Watch: Trump singles out Irish journalist to comment on her ‘nice smile’
Trump was on the phone with Ireland’s new prime minister Leo Varadkar
An exchange in the Oval Office played out like a boardroom elimination on The Celebrity Apprentice, as US President Donald Trump dropped everything to comment on an Irish reporter’s “nice smile”.
RTÉ Washington correspondent Caitriona Perry was singled out while she and several members of the press visited the White House to cover Trump’s diplomatic phone call with Ireland’s new prime minister, Leo Varadkar.
During Trump’s light discussion with Varadkar, he interrupted the call to summon Perry to his desk.
“Well, we have a lot of your Irish press watching us right now,” Trump said in a video clip Perry posted on Twitter.
“We have all of this beautiful Irish press here. Come here, come here, where are you from?”
“RTÉ News, Caitriona Perry,” she said when she approached the desk.
— Caitriona Perry (@CaitrionaPerry) June 27, 2017
“Caitriona Perry. She has a nice smile on her face, so I bet she treats you well,” Trump said.
The reporter called the exchange a “bizarre moment” and is seen laughing awkwardly as she walks away.
The virtual replies came fast and furious after that, with Twitter users debating whether Perry was being objectified or complimented.
It's hell to be objectified. When POTUS has no fear of doing that surrounded by cameras... I'm so sorry. Your success is more than a smile.
— Cristin Harber (@CristinHarber) June 28, 2017
Good on Caitriona Perry for keeping her dignity and professionalism intact, but why are more people not finding this insanely creepy? https://t.co/qIfbJDSMAX
— Susan Daly (@BiddyEarly) June 28, 2017
Perry didn’t expect to be allowed inside the Oval Office that day, let alone meet the president in person.
“One minute we were outside the window and the next minute I’m meeting the president of the United States,” she told RTÉ Entertainment after her encounter.
“Usually we would shoot from outside the window of the White House and that’s what we were expecting today, but instead we were invited inside to witness the president’s call to the taoiseach. When we went in, he was already on the phone but I caught his eye and he called me over.”