Donald Trump held a press conference with Finland's president Sauli Niinistö on Monday during which Trump mixed up two female reporters while taking questions from the press pool, requiring the Finnish president to explain that the two women were not the same person.
Niinistö was fielding a question from his press pool when Trump chimed in and asked, "Again? You're going to give her the same one?" Niinistö responded, "No, she is not the same lady. They are sitting side-by-side." One of the reporters then added to Trump's gaffe by saying, "We have a lot of blonde women in Finland." At this point, everyone in the press conference chuckled. Even Trump himself.
This wouldn't be the first time Trump inadvertently landed himself in a slightly awkward situation by interacting with an international journalist in a less-than-presidential manner. Back in June, Trump interrupted a phone call with Ireland's prime minister Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to tell a reporter in the Oval Office that she "had a nice smile." Trump also commented on the presence of "all of this beautiful Irish press" in his Oval Office. So, the clumsy mix-up of two blonde reporters in the presence of the Nordic country's leader wasn't out of the ordinary for the American president. If anything, it was a routine matter.
To get to the bottom of this blonde mystery, PBS NewsHour correspondent Lisa Desjardins decided to find out who those two blonde reporters were. Desjardins ended up meeting both reporters, Maria Annala and Paula Vilen, and shared a photo of them side-by-side on Twitter to give a reference to viewers. It turns out that Vilen and Annala share the same hue for their locks but apart from that, there is not much resemblance between both.
Trump's Monday mix-up is just another addition to the president's list of peculiar interactions with the press, especially its female members. And observers are quick to point out that the president's behavior toward female reporters is disagreeable. Some feel that Trump's commentary toward women press members reduces them to a set of their physical attributes and ignores their professional labor and achievements.
Whether it was when he interrupted an official conversation with the Irish premier to compliment a reporter's physical appearance in June or to mix two separate and not-alike reporters as one and the same on Monday, it is clear that Trump's rapport with the press should be a lesson in how not to treat female reporters.