Europe

Caitríona Perry: Irish reporter's unexpected encounter with Trump

Donald Trump Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Donald Trump talked to Leo Varadkar on the telephone

Irish reporter Caitríona Perry had an unexpected encounter with US President Donald Trump during his telephone conversation with Taoiseach (prime minister) Leo Varadkar.

Mr Trump told Mr Varadkar Irish media were in the Oval Office and called over RTÉ's Washington Correspondent.

"She has a nice smile on her face so I bet she treats you well," he said.

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Media captionDonald Trump calls Irish reporter over for a chat

Reporters said Mr Varadkar kept Mr Trump waiting for around 90 seconds before answering.

Mr Varadkar later said there was "no significance" in the delay, putting it down to the time taken to put the call through to him.

Footage from Tuesday shows Mr Trump beckoning to Ms Perry and telling Mr Varadkar "we have all of this Irish, beautiful Irish press here".

"One minute we were outside the window and the next minute I'm meeting the President of The United States," Ms Perry told RTÉ.

"Usually we would shoot from outside the window of the White House and that's what we were expecting today, but instead we were invited inside to witness the President's call to the Taoiseach.

"When we went in he was already on the phone but I managed to catch his eye and he called me over."

Mr Varadkar was invited to the White House next year for the St Patrick's Day celebration during the conversation.

The US president also congratulated Mr Varadkar on his "great victory".

Mr Varadkar was confirmed as Ireland's youngest and first openly gay leader earlier this month.

"We have so many people from Ireland in this country - I know so many of them, I feel I know all of them," Mr Trump said.

"But I just wanted to congratulate you, that was a great victory that you had."

A spokesperson for Mr Varadkar said it was "a wide-ranging call" lasting between ten and 15 minutes.

A visit by Mr Trump to Ireland was not discussed, but both men agreed that the next time they would see each other would be in the White House next March.

Mr Varadkar raised the issue of the "undocumented Irish", while there was also a conversation about climate change and trade.

His spokesperson said Mr Trump was interested in discussing the peace process and the Irish border post-Brexit.

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