04 Julio 2017 12:01
'She has a nice smile on her face. So I bet she treats you well'
Irish journalist Caitriona Perry was covering events at the Oval Office when Donald Trump, who was on the phone to the new Taoiseach, summoned her over to tell her she had a nice smile.
The billionaire had called the new Irish prime minister, Leo Varadkar, to congratulate him on winning his country's leadership contest.
A number of media representatives were present during the call, including Perry: the White House correspondent for RTE, Ireland's public service broadcaster.
Trump didn't appear to be especially interested in his conversation with Varadkar because as soon as he saw the reporter he interrupted the call to beckon her over.
It might have been an opportunity for Trump to congratulate Perry on her years of experience as a professional reporter, but instead he decided to make a remark about her looks while making an inappropriate supposition regarding her professional conduct.
'We have a lot of Irish press watching us. Where are you from?' he said. He then gestured to the female reporter to come closer to his desk. 'Come here, Come here. Where are you from? We have all of this beautiful Irish press.'
When Perry walked up and introduced herself, Trump repeated her name to Varadkar, Ireland's first openly gay prime minister, before saying: 'She has a nice smile on her face. So I bet she treats you well.'
Perry attempted to laugh off the incident, but looked decidedly uncomfortable. Others in the room laughed indulgently at the President's sexist remark.
We don't know why Trump picked out Perry and not someone else. Nor do we know if Trump would have told a male correspondent that he has a nice smile and therefore probably treats his prime minister well.
What is clear is that Perry is a talented professional and deserves better than to be singled out for her physical attributes. Unsurprisingly, Trump's actions were derided by many on Twitter as being sexist.