People are accusing Donald Trump of misogyny for allegedly referring to German chancellor Angela Merkel as "stupid" in a private phone call.
Details of calls between Trump and other world leaders were published in a CNN article by Carl Bernstein, the investigative reporter famed for uncovering the Watergate scandal.
According to Bernstein, the president "regularly bullied and demeaned the leaders of America's principal allies, especially two women: telling Prime Minister Theresa May of the United Kingdom she was weak and lacked courage; and telling German Chancellor Angela Merkel that she was "stupid".
Although Trump "regularly bullied and disparaged" other leaders like Emmanuel Macron, Justin Trudeau and Scott Morrison, his most "vicious attacks" were reserved for women, the report claims.
Bernstein quoted one of his sources as calling Trump's phone calls with Merkel and May "near-sadistic". A source is also quoted saying:
Some of the things he said to Angela Merkel are just unbelievable: he called her 'stupid,' and accused her of being in the pocket of the Russians.
He's toughest with those he looks at as weaklings and weakest with the ones he ought to be tough with.
German sources confirmed this story to Bernstein, adding that the German government sought to keep these phone calls a secret because they were so "aggressive" and "problematic".
But Merkel remained resolute with Trump, staying calm and repeating the facts in the face of his tirades.
Theresa May is said to have become "flustered and nervous" when Trump allegedly intimidated her and called her a "fool" over her handling of Brexit, NATO and immigration matters.
People are calling out Trump's obvious misogyny.
@Mimirocah1 It doesn't get much dumber than the most ignorant and incompetent US president in history calling a wom… https://t.co/eSlnTMIXLa
Trump has a long history of having a 'problem' with women.
He was criticised for the contempt with which he held his presidential rival Hillary Clinton in 2016, but his documented misogynistic words and actions far precede that.
One of the most shocking moments of the presidential race came when The Washington Post published a video of Trump in 2005 saying that "you can do anything" to women when you're famous, such as "grab them by the pussy" without consent.
His response to the #MeToo movement in 2017 was claiming that women are "doing great", but that it's "a very scary time for young men in America, where you can be guilty of something you may not be guilty of".
His former national security advisor John Bolton recently said Trump "has a problem with women leaders". He added:
Because of the way Trump looks at relations with other leaders, he has enormous difficulty distinguishing between the personal relationship he has with the leader of another country, and the fundamental US relationship with the other country as a whole.
Bolton also singled out Angela Merkel and Theresa May as the leaders the president has bullied.
Trump does not accept the accusation that he is misogynistic, of course. In October 2016 he said "nobody has more respect for women than I do".
In response to Bernstein's revelations, White House spokesperson Sarah Matthews said:
President Trump is a world class negotiator who has consistently furthered America's interests on the world stage.
From negotiating the phase one China deal and the USMCA to NATO allies contributing more and defeating ISIS, President Trump has shown his ability to advance America's strategic interests.
The White House did not specifically comment on Trump's alleged bullying of women leaders.