Friday 23 March 2018

'Thanks for the newspapers...' what Leo said to Caitríona via middleman Trump

Catríona Perry is the Washington Correspondent for RTE
Catríona Perry is the Washington Correspondent for RTE
US President Donald Trump with RTÉ’s Caitríona Perry
Leo Varadkar
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Donald Trump's unpredictability brought RTÉ's Washington correspondent into the media spotlight as he invited her to join in on a phone call with new Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

Caitríona Perry was in the Oval Office to film the start of the first call between the world leaders when she caught Mr Trump's eye.

"We have a lot of your Irish press watching us right now," Mr Trump told Mr Varadkar, before turning to Ms Perry and summoning her to the Resolute Desk.

"We have here all of this beautiful Irish press. Where are you from?," he asked.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar

"Caitríona Perry, she has a nice smile on her face so I bet she treats you well," he said. Mr Trump went on to say: "He thanks you for the newspapers, Caitríona."

Ms Perry told the Irish Independent this was a reference to copies of the 'New York Times' and 'Washington Post' from the day after Mr Varadkar won the Fine Gael leadership election.

"I had sent those back to Dublin via colleagues for Leo Varadkar as souvenirs that he and his family might like. I do that often when there is a reference to someone I know from home who is featured in the newspapers here," she said.

Ms Perry said it was a surprise for the media to be allowed to listen in on the phone call as it is usually only allowed to film through the Oval Office windows.

As for her American colleagues, they thought the encounter was "hilarious", as Mr Trump has such a fractious relationship with the media.

After the journalists left the room, Mr Trump invited the Taoiseach to the White House for next year's St Patrick's Day.

However, it is understood there was no mention of the invitation issued earlier this year by Enda Kenny for Mr Trump to visit Ireland. The call lasted just under 15 minutes with topics ranging from climate change to Brexit.

Irish Independent

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