President Trump took a moment to remark on Irish reporter Caitriona Perry’s “nice smile”
The exchange between the President of the United States and reporter Caitriona Perry has been retweeted over 8,000 times on social media and has sparked a booming debate about sexism in the workplace.
Perry herself posted a short clip of the exchange on Twitter, saying it was “bizarre”.
President Trump was on the phone with Leo Varadkar, the Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister), having a discussion about the Irish migrants in the US.
The encounter began when Trump remarked on the number of Irish reporters, saying: “Well we have a lot of your Irish press watching us right now. We have all of this beautiful Irish press here.”
The President suddenly pointed to Ms. Perry and indicated she should stand up and approach him, saying: “Come here, come here, where are you from?”
Ms. Perry introduced her name and who she was representing (RTE News).
President Trump then returned to his phone call with Mr. Varadkar, saying: “She has a nice smile on her face so I bet she treats you well,” as Ms. Perry, laughing, returned to her seat.
Controversy over the President’s behavior
Following the encounter, many on social media commented that the President behaved inappropriately.
Some remarks on Twitter included: “There are simply no words to describe how violated I feel for her” and “It’s a working environment & she should be treated as a professional journalist and not reduced to her smile”.
Others disagree, defending the President’s remarks as complimentary and nothing more: “Can’t women take compliments anymore?” one user on Twitter asked.
Ms. Perry herself described the encounter in more detail in the article by RTE, stating: “When we went in he was already on the phone but I must have caught his eye and he called me over.”