Rosie O’Donnell Goes Public With 3-Year-Old Daughter’s Autism Diagnosis Amid Latest Trump Drama

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Suzy Byrne
·Editor, Yahoo Entertainment
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Rosie O'Donnell continues to be one of Donald Trump's biggest critics, but things just took a more personal turn. (Photo: Getty Images)
Rosie O’Donnell continues to be one of Donald Trump’s biggest critics, but things just took a more personal turn. (Photo: Getty Images)

It’s no secret that Rosie O’Donnell hates Donald Trump, but she insists that she wasn’t trolling the president-elect when she shared a YouTube video speculating that his 10-year-old son has autism. She has since gone public with her own daughter’s recent diagnosis with the developmental disorder and said that she reposted the clip because she found it “educational and informational.”

The outspoken comedian’s latest Trump drama started Tuesday when she tweeted a viral video, which has more than 3 million views, speculating that Barron Trump has autism, based on some of his mannerisms. The piece, which has a positive, antibullying tone, is informative, as it talks about various symptoms of the disorder, but it is completely speculative, based on brief snippets of footage of the elementary-school kid with his famous father. The future president has never said that his youngest has autism. In fact, Melania Trump has threatened to file a lawsuit against the person who originally posted the video. (For what it’s worth, the video’s creator, James Hunter, told Gossip Cop that he “never meant to hurt” the Trumps and “just wanted to bring light to the autism epidemic.”)

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Along with the video, O’Donnell wrote, “Barron Trump Autistic? if so — what amazing opportunity to bring attention to the AUTISM epidemic,” and it immediately drew criticism. That backlash caused her to respond, “Not my movie clip — lots of us — who raise autistic children notice many things many would miss … somethings felt familiar #NOshameAUTISM.” (In yet another post, O’Donnell again tried to show that she has no malicious intent toward Barron, describing him as “truly angelic — beautiful like ivanka,” whom she had that awkward run-in with in NYC recently.)

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The president-elect with his youngest son, Barron, at the Republican National Convention in July. (Photo: Ida Mae Astute/ABC via Getty Images)
The president-elect hugs his youngest son, Barron, at the Republican National Convention in July. (Photo: Ida Mae Astute/ABC via Getty Images)

Perhaps feeling that the 140-character limit wasn’t allowing her to get her points across, O’Donnell took to her website on Sunday to share one of her poems elaborating on the Barron drama — and clarifying what she meant by “lots of us who raise autistic children.”

“Here is how it went down / my 3.5 yr old daughter dakota / was diagnosed in september / with HFA — high functioning autism,” the 54-year-old former View co-host wrote. “i have been immersed in that world/reality since / learning — reading — asking questions / it’s all autism — all the time / for the newly diagnosed / as we try to grab onto / anything to keep us standing the knowledge we r not alone / there r others living this too.”

Rosie's youngest daughter, Dakota, was diagnosed with high functioning autism in September. (Photo: Instagram)
Rosie O’Donnell’s youngest daughter, Dakota, was diagnosed with high-functioning autism in September. (Photo: Instagram)

She continued: “When i saw the anti bullying video / that mentioned barron / it spoke to the symptoms many ASD kids have / it was educational and informational / these symptoms so many do not understand / i thought — how amazing IF / IF it is true / IF it is true / i tweeted from my heart / it would help so much with the autism epidemic.”

O’Donnell went on to reiterate that while she has been feuding with Trump for years, she has “no ill will for his children — or any children. If u knew anything about me, u would know that.” And, of course, she worked in a good dig at Trump, calling him a “madman who thinks OUR country is his” and urging people to “stand tall” against him.


Dakota is O’Donnell’s fifth — and youngest — child. She adopted the outgoing, jovial girl, whom she refers to as Dax, in January 2013 while married to Michelle Rounds. She now has full custody of the nursery-school kid, she has said on her website.

When it comes to parenting, O’Donnell has handled quite a few challenges. You’ll remember her impassioned plea for the return of her teen daughter Chelsea (with ex Kelli Carpenter), whom she said “lives with mental illness,” after the girl ran away in the summer of 2015. While that part of their story ultimately had a happy ending, Chelsea, who has said she suffers from “depression and bad anxiety,” has additional problems that are are ongoing. The 19-year-old was hospitalized for a reported overdose in September. The relationship between the women runs hot and cold.

And in 2010, O’Donnell opened up to the New York Times about her now nearly 17-year-old son, Blake, whom she adopted during her marriage to Carpenter. She revealed that he has an auditory processing disorder that “affected his whole world” and cut him “off from society,” leading to strain at home.

O’Donnell is also mom to son Parker, 21, and daughter Vivienne, 14.