First it was Rosie, then Barbara Walters and now the TODAY Show’s Meredith Vieira is the latest lady to end up on the receiving end of Donald Trump’s tongue.
Appearing Thursday morning on the NBC show, Donald and Meredith engaged in light verbal sparring when Vieira brought up Trump’s public feud with O’Donnell, asking him why he sunk to the level he did in responding to Rosie’s criticisms of him over Miss USA Tara Conner.
“Well, I really had no choice,” he told Meredith, who previously held Rosie’s moderator slot on ‘The View.’ “When somebody attacks me I attack back. This all started because Rosie didn’t want to give a young woman who had trouble a second chance . . . You have a choice Meredith — you can sit back or you can fight and I’m a fighter and I chose to fight. And I think I’ve done a very good job.”
Despite appearing on CNN’s Headline News program “Showbiz Tonight” Wednesday evening, again to answer questions on Rosie vs. Donald and where he also suggested Barbara Walters’ recent statements in support of Rosie were untrue, Trump told Meredith he didn’t want to engage in the discussion any longer.
“It’s not that I want to do it,” he began. “It’s not that I want to waste my time. I’d love people to stop asking me questions. Here we are talking about ‘The Apprentice’ and you don’t ask me about ‘The Apprentice.’
It was then that the worded fracas escalated with the two interrupting each other, while examining the ongoing public Rosie-Donald debate.
“You shouldn’t mention them in the same breath,” Donald stated, referring to Rosie and ‘The Apprentice.’
Meredith then hit back at Trump. “But you’re fueling the fire about it,” she said.
While Donald continued to adamantly suggest he did not want to discuss Rosie, Meredith questioned his calling of ‘The View’ moderator “crude,” a “fat pig” and “desperate” in previous interviews, including his first response to the subject, captured in December on Access Hollywood.
“Excuse me. Am I being honest,” Donald replied. “She said I had bad hair.”
“ I didn’t actually call her crude,” Trump continued. “I didn’t. Although, it’s a good word. I will call her crude. I called her a slob which is a little different.”
When asked by Meredith if he loses credibility by continuing to engage in the debate, Trump chimed in again, throwing insults at O’Donnell.
“I have no choice because every time I go on an interview people ask me about Rosie 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 and I get on this show which is about ‘The Apprentice and the very first question you ask me about Rosie and I love you very much, but what do we waste time for.”
It was also revealed in the interview that Trump has a supporter in his war of words with O’Donnell, his fellow ‘Apprentice’ judge, daughter Ivanka.
“Rosie’s been bullying people for a long time and my father has the forum to retaliate and he did,” she told Meredith. “I think [Rosie’s remarks about my dad were] unfair. As my father said, she too has had a lot of second chances. There’s nothing surprising about the fact that my dad is going to come back with a vengeance at any time anyone says anything negative against him.”
But Trump’s lashings didn’t end there. When Meredith questioned him about the recent slump in viewers in seasons following ‘The Apprentice’s ‘ initial installment, Trump hit out at NBC and Martha Stewart.
“Ten million [last season] is a good number and that’s despite the fact that NBC brilliantly ran three of them in one season and one of them was a catastrophe by Martha Stewart, which failed and was taken off the air,” he said. “So that Martha Stewart [‘Apprentice’] show really hurt the show.”
One person Trump did have words of praise for as the interview wrapped up was Miss USA Tara Conner, whom Access Hollywood exclusively revealed was sent to a Pennsylvania rehab before Christmas. Conner was at the center of the Rosie vs. Donald controversy when Trump allowed the beauty queen to keep her crown after it was revealed she engaged in underage drinking. Rosie originally claimed it seemed inappropriate for Trump to be the one to grant her the second chance, questioning with two divorces and infidelity in his past, his ability to serve as the “moral authority” for 21 year olds.
“She’s doing great,” Trump said about Conner’s rehab progress. “She’ll be out in about a week and a half and I think she’s gonna be very inspirational to a lot of people that have that problem. If I’d done what Rosie wanted me to and throw her away like a dog, I didn’t choose to do that. I believe in second chances.”