Donald Trump just cannot seem to shake his famous flap with Rosie O’Donnell, but he did make up with TODAY’s Meredith Vieira during an interview Monday during which he also promoted his new book and took a slight swipe at domestic diva Martha Stewart.
“Rosie’s a degenerate and we understand that,” Trump told Vieira, adding that wherever he goes, he’s still asked about the very public name-calling feud with the comedian that began last December when she was still a co-host of “The View.”
“She follows me like the plague,” he said.
In fairness, Trump was asked about the flap and the fallout in response to an answer about Trump’s new book, “Think Big and Kick Ass in Business and Life.”
It’s about how to succeed in business the Trump way, and one of the tools he believes in is revenge.
“When someone crosses you, my advice is ‘Get Even!’” he writes in the book. “That is not typical advice, but it is real-life advice. If you do not get even, you are just a schmuck! ... I love getting even.”
But, Trump said, he tempers his revenge to fit the perceived slight.
“You attacked me just a little bit,” he told Vieira, referring to an interview on TODAY last year. “I went after you a little bit” [in the book].
In the midst of the O’Donnell feud, during which Trump called his antagonist a “fat pig” and questioned her intelligence, the billionaire developer visited TODAY to talk about his NBC prime-time reality show, “The Apprentice.”
In his book, he expresses anger that Vieira instead spent much of the time asking him about O’Donnell.
“It was the dumbest interview I think I've ever had in my life," Trump wrote in the book. But to Vieira, he brushed it off as nothing big, saying, “I just said it was a lousy interview.”
Trump said that it doesn’t matter where he goes, he’s always asked about O’Donnell. “It’s not just you,” he told Vieira. On a recent trip to Toronto to open a new building, reporters asked, “Could you say something about Rosie?” he said. “It’s not going to go away.”
As for Stewart, Trump said that he was one of the only people who supported her when she went to prison for lying to federal investigators about a stock sale. He also supported her when she did her own version of “The Apprentice,” a show that flopped and was canceled.
Afterward, Stewart was critical of Trump, suggesting that he undercut her show.
“It was a bad show,” Trump said. “Martha attacked me. I was a little surprised at Martha.” But then he added, “I respect Martha.”
New book, new targets
Trump snipes at a number of others in the book, including George Clooney, Mark Cuban, Sir Richard Branson and Angelina Jolie.
Trump, who wrote the book with Bill Zanker, said the real theme of the book is how to get ahead.
“If you want to learn about making money, buy my book,” he said. In it, he gives such advice as: pursue something you have a passion for, know your subject, never take no for an answer, be positive. But he also says to hire the best people you can and never trust them.
Twenty years ago, he told Vieira, he would have said to hire the best people and trust them. Now, he said, “I trust very few people. You can never have somebody so smart that he’s smarter than you. Hire brilliant people, but let me be more brilliant.”
When he was done, he told Vieira, “I love you.”
Later, Vieira told the TODAY audience, Trump is really “a pussycat underneath it all.”