Donald Trump pointedly used a female foreign reporter to remind anyone who may have somehow forgotten that he's still an obnoxious sexist.
It is safe to say that the majority of women in this country — and, to be sure, many men — wake up each day, newly disgusted at the still-unbelievable fact that a man like Donald Trump is in the White House.
There was a reason, after all, that women turned out in historic numbers immediately following his inauguration to protest his presidency, and the man himself.
The list of misogynist, repulsive acts Trump has perpetrated against women and girls is disturbingly long. And his habit of treating women more like livestock to be shown off, rather than actual human beings, is well known.
But lest anyone forget, or give him the benefit of the doubt that becoming president changed his temperament, Trump used a foreign female reporter to put any such notions to rest.
During a phone call to congratulate the new prime minister of Ireland, Leo Varadkar, for which several Irish reporters were present, Trump said, “We have so many people from Ireland in this country … I feel I know all of ’em.”
He commented that there were a lot of Irish reporters in the room, then pointed at the camera and asked, “And where are you from? Go ahead, come here, come here. We have all of this beautiful Irish press.”
The reporter holding the camera, Caitriona Perry of RTÉ News, went to Trump’s side and introduced herself, after which Trump praised her “nice smile.”
He then told Varadkar, “I bet she treats you well.”
— Caitriona Perry (@CaitrionaPerry) June 27, 2017
While Perry is heard laughing on the video, and may indeed have felt perfectly fine with Trump’s comments, to many women, it is still an uncomfortably familiar scene.
Trump occupies the highest office in the most powerful nation on Earth. As such, there is an automatic and immense imbalance of power between him and nearly anyone else with whom he interacts — which is exacerbated when that person is a woman.
What might seem like a mild exhortation when he says “come here, come here” — from the literal seat of world power — is anything but.
Perry is a professional journalist, and a grown adult. Yet because she was pleasing to Trump’s eye, he chose to praise and parade her in front of her colleagues as if she were a participant in one of his beauty pageants.
And it also did nothing to mitigate his ingrained misogyny.