Caitriona Perry, the journalist that President Donald Trump flirted with midway into a phone conversation with the Irish prime minister, has described the moment as bizarre. President Trump was on the phone with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, congratulating him on his recent election win, when he noticed Perry among the group of reporters who had been invited to the Oval Office to witness the occassion.
According to the Standard, the 45th president of the United States beckoned the news journalist to come over before continuing his conversation with Ireland’s first gay prime minister. Trump told Varadkar that he had attractive Irish press people with him in the room before going ahead to compliment the female RTE journalist’s nice smile after confirming where she was from. The U.S. president was discussing migration and Brexit with Irish leader, Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar before he turned his attention to Caitriona Perry.
Perry’s career as a journalist started in 2000 after obtaining a degree in journalism and a master’s degree in international relations. She took the Washington correspondent role in 2013 and spent five months in the U.S. while earning her first degree. The National Justice Media Merit Award winner was not prepared for the president, singling her out during the phone conversation. Perry stood awkwardly by Trump’s desk as he talked with the Irish leader and complimented her.
The Washington reporter would later post a video on Twitter describing it as “bizarre”.
— Caitriona Perry (@CaitrionaPerry) June 27, 2017
“We have all of this beautiful Irish press. She has a nice smile on her face so I bet she treats you well.”
Perry, who is due to remain as an RTE correspondent until 2018, recounted to the Telegraph that she was outside the Oval Office before being invited alongside other journalists. According to her, when the press entered the Oval Office, the President Trump was on the phone with the Irish leader, but when their eyes met, the president called her over.
“Usually we would shoot 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.”
In calling out Caitriona Perry and complimenting her “nice smile,” the Irish Journal is reporting that it has generated a media storm with the actual phone call between the two leaders not taking much significance.
This Caitríona Perry thing is getting overblown. Trump often calls on male reporters to stand beside him while he compliments their smile.
— Damien Owens (@OwensDamien) June 28, 2017
— Moya Doherty (@doherty_moya) June 28, 2017
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
President Trump was put on hold for more than 90 seconds before the new prime minister could accept his congratulations.
The Irish premier has since apologized.
The 38-year-old premier and first leader of Indian heritage has stated that he is not a fan of the U.S. president. In a February interview, Varadkar revealed that he was not keen on inviting President Trump for a visit.
[Featured Image by Evan Vucci/Fotolia/AP Images]