Another day, another instance of President Donald Trump making weird comments about women. On Tuesday, Trump's comment to a female journalist made a lot of people uncomfortable when, in the midst of a congratulatory phone call to the new prime minister of Ireland, Trump called Irish journalist Caitriona Perry over to his desk, and complimented her smile. That's right, the president basically pulled a classic catcalling move while on an international diplomacy call.
As Trump talked to Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, he referenced the members of the Irish press in the room with him, but he quickly focused on one in particular. "And where are you from?" he asked Perry, beckoning her over and saying, "Come here, come here." As he watched her walk over, he said into the phone, "We have all of this beautiful Irish press." And after the Raidio Teilifis Eireann (RTE) Washington correspondent answered his question, the president told the prime minister, "She has a nice smile on her face, so I bet she treats you well." Perry quickly walked away from the desk, laughing uncomfortably, and later posted a video of the interaction to Twitter, calling the moment "bizarre."
Perry is a hardworking journalist with an impressive list of qualifications but hey, why not reduce her to her smile? The White House did not immediately respond to Romper's request for comment.
The interaction with Perry is just the latest in a long list of the president's inappropriate interactions with women, specifically, with female reporters. Olivia Nuzzi, a reporter for the Daily Beast, alleged that when she met Trump during the campaign, he called her "very young and very beautiful." And, of course, Trump attacked Megyn Kelly for her tough questions during a 2015 debate by saying that she had "blood coming out of her wherever," although he later "clarified" the comment by saying he meant her ears or her nose.
The president has a wildly contentious relationship with the media in general. The "I bet she treats you well" part of his comment to Varadkar is telling. Trump seems to believe that journalists should only write flattering things about him. When they press him on legitimate issues, he attacks them as "fake news." He goes after male reporters as well as female ones, but in a different way. It seems highly unlikely that Trump would ever pause a diplomatic phone call to comment on a male journalist's appearance.
Naturally, many on Twitter were creeped out by his interaction with Perry, with many women apologizing to Perry for Trump's behavior. After all, it seems highly unlikely that the president will ever apologize himself.
Over the years of being catcalled, many women perfect their responses. But even when you've mastered the biting retort or the stone-faced disregard, being reduced to your smile never stops making you feel small.
You'd think that women would at least be safe from objectification in the White House. Not under this administration, apparently.