Donald Trump Interrupted a Call with Irish Leader to Call Over Reporter and Tell Her She Has a 'Nice Smile'
Social media was quick to react, calling the encounter "creepy" and apologizing to the reporter for the president's comments
Donald Trump is facing backlash after an Irish reporter shared a video of the president singling her out to compliment her smile during a phone call with Ireland’s new prime minister.
Caitriona Perry, the Washington correspondent for Irish public broadcaster RTE, described being singled out by the president in the Oval Office Tuesday as a “bizarre moment.”
Trump congratulated Taoiseach Leo Varadkar on his victory before telling him over the phone, “We have a lot of your Irish press watching us,” and beckoned Perry over with his finger.
“And where are you from? Go ahead, come here, come here. Where are you from? We have all of this beautiful Irish press,” he said Perry makes her way over to his desk.
“She has a nice smile on her face, so I bet she treats you well,” Trump told the Irish leader as Perry walked back to her spot laughing.
Social media was quick to react, calling the encounter “creepy” and apologizing to Perry for the president’s comments.
“That’s kind of creepy. Do you think that he was being sexist in any way? I mean did it feel like he was judging you based on your looks?” one commented said on Perry’s Instagram page.
“Please accept the apology of at least 1 female American,” a Twitter user replied to the video.
During his call, Trump also underscored the importance of the United States-Ireland relationship and invited Taoiseach Varadkar to participate in the White House St. Patrick’s Day celebration.
Watch: Natasha Stoynoff Breaks Silence, Accuses Donald Trump of Sexual Assault
Accusations of similar encounters between Trump and female reporters have widely circulated throughout his campaign. PEOPLE senior editor Charlotte Triggs experienced such an incident firsthand.
“He’s a media-savvy guy, always taking care to pay me a compliment,” Triggs wrote in a March 2016 story about two days spent with Trump. “This time, it was: ‘You’re so beautiful’ and, for a journalist, the much more flattering line, ‘I really don’t give interviews anymore. But I respect PEOPLE and I respect you,’ he says.”
Last October, PEOPLE writer Natasha Stoynoff accused Trump of forcibly grabbing her and kissing her while she was on assignment at his estate at Mar-a-Lago, Florida in December 2005. Trump has publicly denied Stoynoff’s accusations.