NEW YORK — Donald Trump got some support Thursday in his war of words with Rosie O'Donnell—from his 25-year-old daughter, Ivanka.
Ivanka, a vice president of real estate development at the Trump Organization, appeared on TODAY with her father to promote "The Apprentice," which begins its new season Sunday. She will be joining Trump in the boardroom.
TODAY co-host Meredith Vieira's first questions were about Trump's nasty feud with O'Donnell, the outspoken moderator of "The View." The 44-year-old comedian was hired by series creator Barbara Walters after Vieira left the ABC show last year to join TODAY.
Ivanka said O'Donnell had "instigated" the exchange of verbal hostilities and had been "bullying people for a long time."
"I think it was unfair, it was uncalled for and, quite frankly, there was no reason for it," she said of O'Donnell's recent remarks, which include saying The Donald has been "bankrupt so many times."
"As my father said, she, too, has had a lot of second chances," Ivanka said. "You know, there's nothing surprising about the fact that my dad's gonna come back with a vengeance anytime anyone says anything negative against him."
Trump, a self-professed "fighter," became defensive when Vieira said his comments about O'Donnell—he's called her a "slob" among other insults—were so, well, mean.
"I have no choice because every time I go in an interview, people ask me about Rosie," he said. "So I respond by saying she's not very intelligent, which she's not, she's had many failures in her life, which she has—and I respond."
He also complained that O'Donnell has made fun of his hair, to which Vieira remarked that he had called O'Donnell a "fat pig."
"I don't know, which is worse? I think I'd rather probably be fat," Trump said.
O'Donnell is on vacation from "The View" this week. A spokesman for the daytime talk show said Thursday that O'Donnell wasn't available for comment.
More from TODAY.com
Purple Heart sent to 'Slender Man' victim: When a gift needs no thanks
After an anonymous military veteran sent his Purple Heart medal to the survivor of the Slender Man stabbing in Wisconsin, ...
- The 5 best exercises for tank top-worthy arms
- Michigan jail trades trendy 'Orange' inmate uniforms for timeless sailor stripes
- See for your selfie: 'The Rock' pumps up fans with hard work on Instagram
- Millionaires really are different; they don't want to retire!
- Purple Heart sent to 'Slender Man' victim: When a gift needs no thanks
Walters tried to smooth things over on Wednesday's show, reading a statement that said Trump "has never filed for personal bankruptcy."
Trump told the AP on Wednesday he appreciated that Walters "did a retraction"—and claimed the show's "ratings are up because of people like me."
The Rosie-Donald feud began last month after he announced that Miss USA Tara Conner would keep her title, which had been in jeopardy because of underage drinking. Trump is the owner of the Miss Universe Organization, which includes Miss USA and Miss Teen USA.
O'Donnell told her audience on "The View" that Trump's news conference had annoyed her "on a multitude of levels" and that the twice-divorced real estate mogul had no right to be "the moral compass for 20-year-olds in America."
© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.