At the first Republican debate last summer, Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly asked Donald Trump some difficult questions. The real-estate heir responded by insinuating that Kelly must have been menstruating, deriding her as a “third-rate reporter,” and suggesting that Kelly’s GQ photo shoot proved she was a “bimbo.”
You’ll be shocked to learn this wasn’t the first time the GOP nominee belittled a female journalist for taking an adversarial tone. In 1990, iconic CBS anchor Connie Chung interviewed Trump on her program Face to Face. The interview was recorded just before revelations of Trump’s infidelities and divorce from Ivana hit the press — and aired just after. In the course of the 15-minute segment, Chung mocked Trump’s suggestion that he doesn’t enjoy publicity, informed him that his New York City condominiums “aren’t that great,” shamed him for donating so little to charity, and suggested that his ostentatious displays of wealth might be ruining his children.
A year later, Trump detailed his (understandable) displeasure with Chung, in an interview with Joan Rivers.
“Connie Chung is a disaster,” the mogul complained. “She was like a little child. I mean this girl — this woman — has less talent than anyone I know of.”
Trump’s extended reflections on the interview have all the hallmarks of his contemporary media criticism — there’s the disparagement of a reporter’s honesty and intelligence, the boast about the great ratings he generously bestowed, and the unattributed assertion that many viewers also hated the way he was treated. It’s a rant that the GOP nominee could have delivered yesterday, except, in 1991, his affect was starkly more patrician than it is on the stump in 2016.
Trump: And she came on so strong — and it wasn’t that she was strong or that these questions were impossible to answer. She got high ratings, she got very good ratings. Some people loved what she did, probably. And many people hated what she did, as I understand it. And then she called up — because she did this just before the whole separation from Ivana — so she called up and she wanted to know if I wanted to do a second interview because she wanted to cover it. And she sent me roses afterwards, and I won’t tell you what I did with the roses —
Rivers: Give us a hint.
Trump: Well, I cut ’em up and sent ’em back. I sent her back the stems. Actually, I did. I sent her back the stems, but I kept the top.
Rivers: You’re my kinda guy.
Trump: There was a level of unprofessionalism. It was like a child. It was like you’re being interviewed by a child. And I said to myself, “Why is this woman being paid all this money to do this?” Because she’s really not very good.