Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump interrupted his press event on Monday to hold a mini-interview with an unemployed veteran.
The billionaire businessman was in the middle of a press conference in front of his under-construction luxury hotel in D.C. when his campaign plucked a woman named Alicia Watkins from the press section and permitted her to ask the White House hopeful a question.
Watkins, who identified herself as an Air Force vet and a 9/11 survivor who has served both in Afghanistan and Iraq war, asked the real estate mogul if his new hotel would employ veterans, to which Trump said “it would” and invited her on to the stage for an impromptu job interview.
“What are you looking for? What kind of a position? Come up here, you look so smart and good,” the GOP front-runner inquired. “Do you mind if I do a job interview right now?”
Once the 38-year-old ticked off her skills — which included “design,” “briefs" and “all kinds of decorations” — Trump passed her along to one of his aides and told the crowd: “If we can make a good deal on a salary, she's probably going to have a job.”
Now, the incident seemed quite remarkable at first. But Trump gave this appointment a sexist turn by praising the vet for her looking “so smart, good” and expressing his “gut feeling” that Watkins “had a great look.”
However, something about the soon-to-Trump employee seems to have perturbed many people. Apparently, the Trump campaign, for some unknown reason, provided the former Air Force sergeant with media credentials despite the fact she is not a member of the press.
In fact, as CNN reporter Dylan Byers later reported, the Trump campaign claimed Watkins worked for “a site called Troops Media which focuses on military and veterans issues” — a site that does not appear to exist.
Moreover, according to her LinkedIn profile, Watkins is a former beauty queen who has racked up titles including Ms. Maryland and Ms. Massachusetts. Interestingly, she is also a reality TV figure who appeared on an episode of TLC’s “Say Yes to the Dress.” In 2010, she appeared on “The Oprah Winfrey show” in a segment titled “A Day in the Life of a Homeless Female Veteran.” Four years later, a local ABC news report featured her in a story about a “horse whisperer” who brings veterans with PTSD in contact with horses to help heal them.
While it’s a bit hard to believe that Trump offered a complete stranger a job, knowing the former reality TV star’s flare for dramatics, it’s safe to assume things might not be as they appear.