During Monday evening’s first presidential debate, Hillary Clinton suggested that Russia might be responsible for the recent cyberhacks of Democrat email accounts. Donald Trump countered with an outrageous claim: that “it also could somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds, OK?”
The snide remark is significant because it is far from the first time Trump has launched weight-related verbal assaults — except they’re usually targeted at people he knows. Case in point: He has had a longstanding feud with Rosie O’Donnell, and fat-shaming has been a constant theme throughout. In a now-infamous television interview on The Insider in 2006, Trump gloated about the canceling of O’Donnell’s talk show and the closing of her magazine, then took aim at Barbara Walters for including O’Donnell on the panel of The View at the time.
“If I were running The View, I’d fire Rosie. I mean, I’d look right in that fat, ugly face of hers, I’d say, ‘Rosie, you’re fired,‘” taking the opportunity to plug his then-catchphrase made famous on his own reality show, The Apprentice. “We’re all a little chubby, but Rosie’s just worse than most of us,” he smugly added. He even went so low as to suggest that he could easily send someone to steal O’Donnell’s then girlfriend away from her, asking, “Why would she stay with Rosie if she had another choice?”
In the same year, O’Donnell called Trump a “pimp,” to which he accused her of being a “big, fat pig,” according to Fox News. Last year, according to CNN, when his presidential campaign was just getting started, he was asked by Fox News host and debate moderator Megyn Kelly about his history of calling women “fat pigs,” “dogs,” “slobs,” and “disgusting animals.” The Donald didn’t miss a beat. “Only Rosie O’Donnell,” he responded.
Hillary Clinton brought up the “fat pigs,” “dogs,” and “slobs” argument in Monday’s debate as well.
Let’s hope he was kidding, because that response couldn’t be further from the truth. Trump has a long, well-documented, and unapologetic history of shaming women. Yes, he called O’Donnell “a slob.” But, in fact, it was Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington whom he referred to as “a dog.” He tweeted, “Why is it necessary to comment on @ariannahuff looks? Because she is a dog who wrongfully comments on me.” He added that she is ugly both inside and out,” according to the Washington Post.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 7, 2015
But there are more “dogs” in Trump’s world. In 2011, Trump actually mailed New York Times columnist Gail Collins a copy of her op-ed piece about him; he’d circled her picture on the piece and written, “The Face of a Dog!” according to Collins’s own admission. This was retaliation for Collins calling Trump “a financially embattled thousandaire” in her column, apparently.
Entertainment icon Bette Midler has been a target of Trump’s misogynistic ridicule as well. She had the “honor” of being called an original insult by Trump’s standards: grotesque.
Now grotesque @BetteMidler is into the Trump act — trying to become
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 28, 2012
He went on to publicly concur, on both Twitter and Facebook, when Internet users voted actress Sarah Jessica Parker “unsexiest woman alive,” although nobody asked him. And in 2011, Trump allegedly called a lawyer “disgusting” when she requested a break from a deposition to pump breast milk, according to CNN. “He got up, his face got red, he shook his finger at me, and he screamed, ‘You’re disgusting, you’re disgusting,’ and he ran out of there,” the woman’s attorney, Elizabeth Beck, told CNN.
Bitter at being exposed, Trump childishly bit back on Twitter.
.CNN & @CNNPolitics Lawyer Elizabeth Beck did a terrible job against me, she lost (I even got legal fees). I loved beating her,she was easy
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 29, 2015
And then there was Monday night’s debate, in which Clinton publicly called out Trump for referring to women as “pigs, slobs, and dogs.” She added that Trump “has said that pregnancy is an inconvenience to employers, who has said women don’t deserve equal pay unless they do as good a job as men.” (Trump denied both accusations.)
The clincher — and one of the debate’s most epic moments — was Clinton’s mention of Alicia Machado, the Miss Universe who was relentlessly shamed for gaining weight after winning her title. After Trump, who then owned the pageant, called Machado “Miss Piggy,” threatening to take away her crown if she didn’t lose weight, and publicly humiliating her by inviting the press to the gym to watch her work out, Machado developed eating disorders that took years to overcome.
Today, Machado is healthy, happy — and a U.S. citizen who plans to vote for Clinton, her friend and supporter. Trump defended his weight-shaming and name-calling of Machado on Fox and Friends Tuesday morning. “She was the worst we ever had,” he said. “She was a winner, and she gained a massive amount of weight, and we had a real problem. We had a real problem with her.”