Donald Trump Slaps Around 'Today's' Meredith Vieira

It’s really marvelous to watch a member of the media get slapped around, especially on their own turf. Such was certainly the case on Thursday’s “Today” show when co-host Meredith Vieira tried to catch multibillionaire Donald Trump in a “Why are you talking about Rosie O’Donnell” trap. Even though Vieira claimed to know Trump “for a while,” she dramatically underestimated his ability to dance between the raindrops and demonstrate to the audience why he could buy and sell her a thousand times over (video available here, hat tip to Hot Air).

The pummeling came early and often after Vieira asked, “Why would you reduce yourself to this kind of mudslinging with Rosie O'Donnell?” After Trump gave a reasonable answer, Vieira said, “But is it dirt.” And that’s when the fun began, as Trump appropriately responded:

It's not that I want to do it. It's not that I want to waste my time. I'd love people to stop asking me questions. I mean, here we are talking about "The Apprentice" and you don't talk about "The Apprentice," you talk about Rosie.

VIEIRA: Yeah, but wait, I'm going to talk about "The Apprentice," but you're...

Mr. TRUMP: And you shouldn't mention them in the same breath.

VIEIRA: Well, but you're fueling the fire with the--with the--with Rosie.

Mr. TRUMP: Excuse me, I'm not--you asked me a question about Rosie. What am I going to do, say, `Meredith, I have no comment. I don't want to talk about Rosie'? You just said, `Rosie,' so what am I going to do? I'd love not to talk about her. She's not worthy of talking and, you know, you asked me the question.

It's an old trick that folks in the media use to make someone look foolish: ask them a question about a dirty subject, and then try to mock the guest for stooping so low. It's amazing to believe that Vieira wouldn't have expected someone of Trump's intellect wouldn't see through it, and be able to successfully parry the attack. After all, isn’t it absurd to ask someone a question about a particular situation, and then ask them why they’re talking about it? Yet, she foolishly continued with this pathetic cross-examination:

VIEIRA: But what's the point, Donald, in--if you feel that somebody's crude--I'm asking you honestly--why then retort with other crude remarks? Doesn't it--don't you lose...

Mr. TRUMP: Well, I didn't actually call her crude. I didn't--although it's a good word. I will call her crude now.

VIEIRA: But you don't you lose your own credibility?

Mr. TRUMP: I called her a slob, which is a little different.

VIEIRA: OK, you called her a slob. Don't you lose your own credibility when you give that sort of retort?

Mr. TRUMP: 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 first question you ask me is about Rosie.

VIEIRA: Because--yeah...

Mr. TRUMP: And I love you very much but what do--what do we waste time for?

VIEIRA: But it's also--it's also what everybody's talking about, and some...

Mr. TRUMP: Well, OK, but you're asking me why do I talk about Rosie.

VIEIRA: OK.

Mr. TRUMP: Now you're saying it's what everyone's talking about. So give me a break. You can't have it both ways.

Bravo! Encore! Author! Author!

What follows is a full transcript of this segment.

MEREDITH VIEIRA, co-host:

Real estate mogul Donald Trump is no stranger to the headlines. The past few weeks have been no exception. First, in a scene like something right out of "The Apprentice" boardroom, Miss USA Tara Conner publicly apologized for behavior that almost cost her the crown. When Donald Trump gave her a second chance, it seemed like the end to a very public controversy, but another one was just getting started.

Ms. ROSIE O'DONNELL: (From clip from "The View") And there he is, hair loop, and going, `Everyone deserves a second chance.'

And he's the moral authority. Left the first wife, had an affair. Left the second wife, had an affair. Had kids both times. But he's the moral compass for 20-year-olds in America. Donald, sit and spin, my friend.

Mr. DONALD TRUMP: (From file footage) Well, Rosie is a loser. Rosie's been a loser for a long time. Her magazine failed. She got sued. She folded up like a tent, it was too bad.

She ought to be careful because I'll send one of my friends to pick up her girlfriend, and I think it would be very easy.

VIEIRA: Donald Trump is also busy with the latest installment of "The Apprentice," and this time it is a family affair.

Donald and Ivanka Trump, good morning to both of you.

Mr. TRUMP: Good morning.

VIEIRA: Now, I've known you for a while, Donald, quite a few years, right?

Mr. TRUMP: Pretty long.

VIEIRA: Yeah, pretty long time. I know you're a smart guy, good guy. Why would you reduce yourself to this kind of mudslinging with Rosie O'Donnell?

Mr. TRUMP: Well, I really had no choice. When somebody attacks me, I attack back. But this all started because Rosie didn't want to give a young woman who had trouble a second chance. And she went on "The View" and she did numbers on me. And people called me and they said, `Oh, gee, she just did, like, 15 minutes of stuff on you.' So you have a choice, Meredith. You can sit back or you can fight. And you know I'm a fighter, I chose to fight and I think...

VIEIRA: But is it dirt--yeah.

Mr. TRUMP: ...I think I've done a very good job. Every poll says I'm 90 percent to 10 percent. I'm 72 percent in Fox last night--72 percent to 20 percent. It's not that I want to do it. It's not that I want to waste my time. I'd love people to stop asking me questions. I mean, here we are talking about "The Apprentice" and you don't talk about "The Apprentice," you talk about Rosie.

VIEIRA: Yeah, but wait, I'm going to talk about "The Apprentice," but you're...

Mr. TRUMP: And you shouldn't mention them in the same breath.

VIEIRA: Well, but you're fueling the fire with the--with the--with Rosie.

Mr. TRUMP: Excuse me, I'm not--you asked me a question about Rosie. What am I going to do, say, `Meredith, I have no comment. I don't want to talk about Rosie'? You just said, `Rosie,' so what am I going to do? I'd love not to talk about her. She's not worthy of talking and, you know, you asked me the question.

VIEIRA: But, you know, you called her crude. And the reason I asked is...

Mr. TRUMP: Crude? She's more than crude.

VIEIRA: Well, yeah, you also called her a fat pig...

Mr. TRUMP: Well, of course, she's that, too.

VIEIRA: ...you called her desperate, you called her a lot of things. But...

Mr. TRUMP: Excuse me--excuse me, am I being honest?

VIEIRA: Well, but it's very derogatory comments. And if you're calling somebody crude...

Mr. TRUMP: Well, she said I had bad hair.

VIEIRA: Well, come on, bad hair vs. fat pig.

Mr. TRUMP: OK? She said I had bad hair.

VIEIRA: Whatever.

Mr. TRUMP: Well, I don't know, which is worse? I think I'd rather probably be fat.

VIEIRA: But what's the point, Donald, in--if you feel that somebody's crude--I'm asking you honestly--why then retort with other crude remarks? Doesn't it--don't you lose...

Mr. TRUMP: Well, I didn't actually call her crude. I didn't--although it's a good word. I will call her crude now.

VIEIRA: But you don't you lose your own credibility?

Mr. TRUMP: I called her a slob, which is a little different.

VIEIRA: OK, you called her a slob. Don't you lose your own credibility when you give that sort of retort?

Mr. TRUMP: 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 first question you ask me is about Rosie.

VIEIRA: Because--yeah...

Mr. TRUMP: And I love you very much but what do--what do we waste time for?

VIEIRA: But it's also--it's also what everybody's talking about, and some...

Mr. TRUMP: Well, OK, but you're asking me why do I talk about Rosie.

VIEIRA: OK.

Mr. TRUMP: Now you're saying it's what everyone's talking about. So give me a break. You can't have it both ways.

VIEIRA: All right, let me ask you about "The Apprentice."

Mr. TRUMP: Oh, good. Good.

VIEIRA: Again, people are attaching...

Mr. TRUMP: Not as exciting, but what are you going to do?

VIEIRA: It's exciting, it's exciting. But a lot of people think that you're talking about Rosie so much to fuel the publicity for the sixth season of "The Apprentice."

Mr. TRUMP: You know what, "The Apprentice" has done so well. It was the number one show on television; it continues to do very well. I don't need Rosie to help me with "The Apprentice."

Ms. IVANKA TRUMP: Especially given that she instigated the remarks. I think Rosie's been bullying people for a long time, and my father has the forum to retaliate and he did.

VIEIRA: Were you upset by Rosie's remarks, Ivanka?

Ms. TRUMP: I was.

VIEIRA: Yeah.

Ms. TRUMP: I think it was unfair, it was uncalled for and, quite frankly, there was no reason for it. As my father said, she too has had a lot of second chances. You know, there's nothing surprising about the fact that my dad's going to come back with a vengeance any time anyone says anything negative against him.

VIEIRA: And you're starting the sixth season. You talked about well the show has done. But we all chase the ratings--this show, every single show--and when you started in your first season, 20 million viewers; now, going into the sixth, it's--well, we don't know what it's going to be actually Sunday, but fifth season was around 10 million. Did you move the show to LA...

Mr. TRUMP: Well, 10 million's--by the way, excuse me, 10 million is a good number, just so we understand.

VIEIRA: It's a good number. It's a good number, but there's a drop.

Mr. TRUMP: The problem is, when you do 21 million and you had 41 million people watching the final episode of number one, it's always like, `Oh, gee, how you doing compared to number one?' But 10 million 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. So, you know, that Martha Stewart show really hurt the show.

VIEIRA: But is the move to LA...

Mr. TRUMP: The best show we've ever done--I think the best show we've ever done, including season one, is this one. And the beauty--we've had a little rest. You can't keep--if you put "American Idol" on three times in one year, nobody would watch it. And you can't just take a show and do that. So we've had a rest. I think this is the best show we've done. And, yes, LA has been very exciting.

VIEIRA: What's the--what are the new twists and turns in this, Ivanka--plus you, I must say. I saw--I saw the first episode and the second, and you are now in the boardroom in a big way and you're a killer.

Ms. TRUMP: I'm having fun with it, and my father had fun with it. I think being in LA is a major change in and of itself. Plus, there are a few twists in that the losing team actually has to live in the back yard of a mansion in tents, which does not exactly do things--great things for the morale of the team. So if you have, you know, personal interdynamics--already these kids going up head to head against one another--having them live in tents, and, you know, having outdoor showers does not help that. So the dynamic, I think, this season is really fun. The change of venue's really fun. And I think it's just a really fresh approach.

VIEIRA: Before we go, I want to ask you about Miss USA because that's how this whole feud started. You said you were giving her a second chance. She was going into rehab for a drinking problem; she had an issue with drinking. How is she?

Mr. TRUMP: She's doing great. She'll be out in about a week and a half, and I think she's going to be very inspirational to a lot of people that have that problem. And, you know, I could have done what Rosie wanted me to do and throw her away like a dog. I don't choose to do that. I believe in second chances.

VIEIRA: I don't know that Rosie said she wanted to throw her away like a dog, Donald...

Mr. TRUMP: Well, excuse me...

VIEIRA: ...to be honest with you.

Mr. TRUMP: ...she hated what I did. She hated the fact that I gave her a second chance. And I can tell you, Rosie's given a lot of women a second chance.

VIEIRA: Would you like to see this end now? You--how about say right now on the TODAY show...

Mr. TRUMP: Would I like to?

VIEIRA: ...`I'm not going to bring up Rosie again.'

Mr. TRUMP: No, no, you brought it up. Would I like...

VIEIRA: I'm just saying...

Mr. TRUMP: OK.

VIEIRA: ...you never answer again another question about Rosie.

Mr. TRUMP: I'd love not to, but when you ask me a question I have no choice.

VIEIRA: How about say, `No comment.' You can't say, `No comment?'

Mr. TRUMP: It's hard for me to do that.

VIEIRA: Try it.

Mr. TRUMP: No comment.

VIEIRA: There you go.

Mr. TRUMP: Thank you.

VIEIRA: Donald Trump, thank you so much. Ivanka.

It wasn't so hard.

Ms. TRUMP: Thank you. It's not exactly his personality but, you know...

VIEIRA: No, tell me about it. All right.

Special 90-minute season premier of "The Apprentice" airs this Sunday, January 7th, at 9:30, 8:30 Central time right here on NBC. Another 90-minute episode will air on January 14th.

Great review, by the way, today in the Daily News...

Mr. TRUMP: Thank you.

VIEIRA: ...of "The Apprentice."

Mr. TRUMP: Thank you.

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.