During a phone call with the Irish Prime Minister on Tuesday, President Donald Trump called a female reporter to his desk to comment on her smile. The moment has received a great deal of attention on social media after reporter Caitriona Perry posted a video clip of the interaction on her Twitter page.
Perry is the Washington Correspondent for Irish news network Raidió Teilifís Éireann, and has been in her role since 2014. On Tuesday, Trump was holding a call with Leo Varadkar, the new Irish Prime Minister (often referred to by the title "Taoiseach"), to congratulate him for his recent victory. As RTÉ reported, Trump invited Irish media into the Oval Office to witness the call, something which Perry noted was not the norm, as her network typically films from outside the window of the White House.
Once Perry was in the Oval Office she reported, via RTÉ, that the president was on the phone when he called her over to his desk. As BuzzFeed reported, Trump had previously told Varadkar that he had "all of this Irish, beautiful Irish press" in the office and then said to Perry, "Where are you from? Come here, come here."
As Perry approached Trump's desk and stated her name and affiliation, Trump also noted to Varadkar that "She has a nice smile on her face, so I bet she treats you well." Perry then walked away from Trump's desk and, as she was leaving, Trump added that "[The Taoiseach] thanks you for the newspapers, Caitriona."
Perry posted an RTÉ-recorded video of the exchange on her Twitter account on Tuesday, calling it a "bizarre moment." Her tweet received a great deal of attention, with thousands commenting on the exchange. Many of the tweets were fairly critical of Trump, with users calling his comments inappropriate and saying that the president objectified Perry. Other users noted that they believed Trump's behavior constituted sexual harassment and that they did not think it reflected appropriate workplace behavior.
However, other, albeit fewer, users defended Trump's actions. One user characterized the exchange as completely harmless while another noted that they believed Trump was merely complimenting Perry. Another user also commented that she believed Trump's actions to be complimentary.
For her part, Perry has not commented further on the interaction between her and President Trump, beyond describing the logistics of the exchange to RTÉ and referring to the incident as "bizarre" in her own tweet. However, it is clear that social media users certainly feel strongly about the exchange and, in addition to providing commentary, have widely shared the video on Twitter.