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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Trump’s Amnesia

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump denied that he had ever called female adversaries some of the words Fox News host Megyn Kelly listed at the first GOP debate — “fat pigs, dogs, slobs and disgusting animals.” In fact, he has used all of those terms.

During the first debate, Kelly asked about the “downsides” of Trump speaking his mind “when it comes to women.”

Kelly: You’ve called women you don’t like fat pigs, dogs, slobs and disgusting animals. Your Twitter account …

Trump: Only Rosie O’Donnell.

Kelly: No, it wasn’t. Your Twitter account …

Kelly: … For the record, it was well beyond Rosie O’Donnell.

Trump: Yes, I’m sure it was.

During the debate, Trump said that with some of the comments Kelly referred to “it’s fun, it’s kidding,” and he said the country has a problem with “being politically correct.”

Asked about the exchange on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Aug. 9, Trump responded, in part, “Well, some of the things that she said I didn’t say, ok.”

That defense echoes comments made on ABC’s “Good Morning America” the day after the debate: “You know, some of the statements she made about the women, I don’t recognize those words whatsoever.”

We reached out to Trump’s campaign to see which of the words he took issue with, but we did not get a response. We also reached out to Fox News, to get some backup material on each of the terms Kelly cited. It turns out the question was well-vetted.

We’ll take each claim one-by-one.

Fat Pigs. Check.

Most, but not all, of the invective mentioned by Kelly was directed at comedian/actress Rosie O’Donnell. Trump and O’Donnell got into an extended, very heated, and very public, war of words back in 2006, after O’Donnell, then a cohost and moderator of “The View,” criticized Trump’s handling of a decision not to dethrone a Miss USA winner caught drinking underage.

Firing back, Trump called O’Donnell “untalented” and of “less than average” intelligence. He referred to O’Donnell as a “big fat pig.” He also called her a “real loser” and referred to her as “my nice fat little Rosie.” And here’s a video of Trump at the Learning Annex Real Estate and Wealth Expo in 2007 referring to O’Donnell as a “disgusting pig.”

Dogs. Check.

In April, Trump took to Twitter to attack Huffington Post Editor Arianna Huffington: “Why is it necessary to comment on [Huffington’s] looks?” Trump asked. “Because she is a dog who wrongfully comments on me.”

Exhibit 2: In 2011, New York Times Op-Ed columnist Gail Collins wrote that she “referred to [Trump] in print as a ‘financially embattled thousandaire’ and he sent me a copy of the column with my picture circled and ‘The Face of a Dog!’ written over it.”

Slobs. Check.

Back to O’Donnell again. In the 2006 spat, Trump told the Insider, “Rosie O’Donnell’s disgusting both inside and out. You take a look at her, she’s a slob.” He used the same term to describe O’Donnell in that video we mentioned earlier from the 2007 Real Estate and Wealth Expo.

Disgusting Animal

Last month, attorney Elizabeth Beck told CNN that during a 2011 deposition, Trump called her “disgusting” when she requested a break to pump breast milk. Trump did not deny calling her disgusting, but defended himself by saying she wanted to use her breast pump in front of him.

Trump, of course, also has called O’Donnell “disgusting.” And he has referred to O’Donnell as an “animal.” Several times.

We could not find any instances of Trump calling any woman a “disgusting animal,” at least not with the words back-to-back like that. But we note that Trump did refer to O’Donnell as a “disgusting pig” and “an animal.” Trump may not remember saying all of those words. But he said them.

— Robert Farley