“She has a nice smile on her face, so I bet she treats you well,” Trump told Varadkar on the phone after he had called Perry over.
The comment drew criticism from some on social media. “Needless to say, male reporters are not told that they have a ‘nice smile,’” tweeted Dartmouth Political Science Professor and New York Times contributor Brendan Nyhan.
“It was condescending, it was just creepy,” Symone Sanders, Bernie Sanders’ former Press Secretary and a strategist for the Democratic SuperPac Priorities USA, said on CNN.
But it wasn’t the first time President Trump has singled out female members of the media or commented on their appearances.
During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump repeatedly referred to NBC News reporter Katy Tur as “Little Katy.” At one point, Trump even singled Tur out during a rally, falsely claiming she didn’t accurately depict the then-candidate’s crowd sizes.
Trump’s long-running feud with Fox News-turned-NBC News anchor Megyn Kelly began after the first presidential primary debate, when he tweeted that “she had blood coming out of her wherever” while Kelly was questioning him. The comment immediately drew backlash. Some opined that Trump was insinuating that Kelly engaged in tough questioning because she was menstruating.
When tweeting in response to an airing of MSNBC’s Morning Joe on August 22, Trump criticized co-host Mika Brzezinski as “off the wall, a neurotic and not very bright mess!”
Trump has tweeted about Brzezinski’s co-host and fiancee Joe Scarborough, but never used any of those descriptions. He did, however, apply that term to New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, calling her a “neurotic dope” on Twitter in September 2016.
RELATED VIDEO: Exclusive: Natasha Stoynoff Speaks Out: ‘I Don’t Want Women to Feel Afraid’
Trump’s history of making similar comments predates his presidential bid. In May 2015, one month before declaring his candidacy, Trump tweeted that Huffington Post co-founder Ariana Huffington was “extremely unattractive” and was paying her ex-husband to use his last name.
And after the emergence of the Access Hollywood tape in October 2016, in which Trump can be heard boasting about making unsolicited advances toward women, writer Natasha Stoynoff said that while on a reporting trip to Mar-a-Lago, Trump led her into a room alone, pushed her against a wall, and began trying to kiss her. A Trump spokesperson denied Stoynoff’s account.