Donald Trump has been accused of singling out an Irish female reporter in a “bizarre moment” in which he comment on her smile while he on was on a call to the Irish prime minister.
The President was speaking to Leo Varadkar, the recently approved Taoiseach of Ireland, with several member of the Irish press watching the proceedings in the Oval Office.
“Come here, come here. Where are you from? We have all of this beautiful Irish press,” Mr Trump said, pointing at Caitriona Perry, Washington correspondent for Ireland’s RTÉ News.
Continuing to address Mr Varadkar, Mr Trump added: “She has a nice smile on her face, so I bet she treats you well.”
Ms Perry, who could not be immediately contacted for comment, posted a video clip of the incident on Twitter, calling it a bizarre moment.
“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,” she told her own network.
“When we went in he was already on the phone but I managed to catch his eye and he called me over.”
Yet many thought the President’s behavior was inappropriate and even creepy.
“She has a nice smile on her face so I bet she treats you well,” Trump said creepily about the Irish reporter, wrote Scott Dworkin.
Veteran New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, wrote: “Creepy: Pres Trump is on a phone call with Ireland’s prime minister, observed by the press, then ignores the PM to chat up a TV reporter.”
A Twitter user who uses the handle Firehorse Girl, wrote: “She is so shocked and uncomfortable. How many nervous laughs have we all had to make around creepy pervs like trump?”
Observers pointed out that this was not the first time Mr Trump has singled a female reporter for controversial treatment.
During the presidential campaign, he found himself at the centre of an intense furore, after saying that Megyn Kelly, at the time a Fox News Channel anchor, “had blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever”. She had been questioning him during a televised Republican primary debate.
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