The eerie thing about the video below is how unsurprising it is. The gut reaction to a video of our president, in the midst of a phone call with the new Irish prime minister, Leo Varadkar, stopping what he is doing to point at a woman, beckon her over to him, compliment the “beautiful” Irish press, and then say she has a nice smile, is pretty much a shrug of the shoulders. “She has a nice smile on her face so I bet she treats you well,” he said, ostensibly to Varadkar. The award-winning journalist for RTE, Caitríona Perry, later referred to the moment as “bizarre” on Twitter.
We expect all this from Trump not just because of his long history of objectifying women, from sauntering uninvited through the Miss Universe pageant changing rooms to his violent treatment of his ex-wife to his career-ending-in-an-alternate-timeline boast of sexual assault to a giggling Billy Bush. We expect this from Trump because, larger than that, we expect only the worst from him. His primary virtues as a candidate were his history of greasy corruption and decorum-bucking boorishness, and now that he’s president he makes good on that promise seemingly every day, whether it’s something as large as alienating global allies with his schoolyard-bully physicality or as small as demanding an extra scoop of ice cream to show that he’s the big boy.
Of course Donald Trump called out a journalist to say she has a nice smile. That’s how he became the president!