Two days after President Donald Trump tweeted that he would be “focusing my energy on North Korea Nuclear, bad Trade Deals, VA Choice, the Economy, rebuilding the Military, and so much more,” the White House has aimed the combined efforts of its entire communications staff on getting a comedian fired for calling White House adviser and first daughter Ivanka Trump a “feckless cunt.”
“The language used by Samantha Bee last night is vile and vicious,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. “The collective silence by the left and its media allies is appalling. Her disgusting comments and show are not fit for broadcast, and executives at Time Warner and TBS must demonstrate that such explicit profanity about female members of this administration will not be condoned on its network.”
The White House’s war on the Full Frontal host, however, risks calling more public attention to the president’s own alleged use of the word “cunt” to describe at least three women since the 1980s—including a journalist, a former acting attorney general, and a woman who has accused Trump of groping her aboard an airplane.
On Thursday, Bee attacked the president’s eldest daughter and adviser during a monologue responding to Trump’s posting of a picture holding her youngest son. Amid scrutiny of the administration’s policy of separating undocumented children from their parents if families are caught crossing into the United States, Bee accused the post of being “the second most oblivious tweet we’ve seen this week.”
“You know, Ivanka, that’s a beautiful photo of you and your child, but let me just say, one mother to another,” Bee said. “Do something about your dad’s immigration practices, you feckless cunt!”
The late-night host has since apologized to Trump “for using an expletive on my show to describe her last night. It was inappropriate and inexcusable.”
Trump himself has been accused of leveling the same language at three women over the span of more than three decades, most recently in author Michael Wolff’s blockbuster book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House. In Fire and Fury, Trump is reported to have used the oath in reference to former acting attorney general Sally Yates, whom Trump fired after she reached the conclusion that an executive order banning people from seven majority-Muslim countries from entering the United States was unconstitutional.
Wolff notes that while the president was facing off against the entire Justice Department, “to Trump, he was just up against Sally Yates, who was, he steamed, ‘such a cunt.’”
Not all accusations that Trump used the word “cunt” to describe a woman stemmed from questions of constitutional law. In one instance, Trump is alleged to have used the word because he didn’t like the headline of a journalist’s article.
After reporter Jennifer Lin, then a financial correspondent for the Philadelphia Inquirer, wrote a story about Trump’s attempts to underbid shareholders for increased control of an Atlantic City casino project in 1988, Lin received a call from a Trump Organization secretary asking her to “hold for Mr. Trump.”
“There was no hello. But there was yelling, lots of yelling,” Lin wrote of the exchange in 2016, five weeks before the presidential election. “The word ‘shit’ was used repeatedly as a noun and adjective. I had shit for brains. I worked for a shitty newspaper. What sort of shit did I write.”
Before she could reply, Lin wrote, Trump hung up on her—and then called her editor, who “was treated to the same Trumpian wordplay, but got an added treat.”
“Trump referred to me as ‘that cunt,’” Lin wrote, a word she would later tell CNN was, “in my opinion… the worst word in the English language to refer to a woman.”
When pressed by her editor, Lin recounted, Trump couldn’t name any particular inaccuracy in her piece—in part because Trump hadn’t actually read it.
“No one reads the story,” Trump allegedly told Lin’s editor. “I read the headline and I didn’t like it.”
Another woman has alleged that Trump called her a “cunt” simply because she resisted his sexual advances aboard an airplane.
Jessica Leeds, now 76, was one of the first women to publicly accuse Trump of sexually aggressive behavior during the presidential campaign. Five days after The Washington Post released video showing Trump boasting about his fame allowing him to grope women without their consent, The New York Times published Leeds’ accusation that Trump had groped her breasts and attempted to reach up her skirt while they sat next to each other onboard a plane in the early 1980s.
“He was like an octopus—his hands were everywhere,” Leeds said at the time. “It was an assault.”
In December of last year, Leeds told NBC’s Megyn Kelly Today that three years after the incident, she ran into Trump again at a charity gala in New York City.
“I knew, and I recognized him, immediately—he’s the guy on the airplane,” Leeds said. “But he stands there, as I’m handing him this table assignment, and he says, ‘I remember you. You were that…” Leeds paused, indicating a missing word, “...woman from the airplane. He called me the worst name ever.”
Asked by Kelly to give the audience a hint, Leeds confirmed that the word began with a “c” and ended with a “t”: “It’s the worst one, it really is.”
“It was shocking,” Leeds said. “It was like a bucket of cold water being thrown over me.”
The White House did not return requests for comment about Trump’s alleged use of the word “cunt” to describe Yates, Lin, or Leeds. Trump has, however, suggested that Leeds was too ugly for him to be credibly accused of sexually assaulting her.
“Believe me, she would not be my first choice, that I can tell you,” Trump said in October 2016. “That would not be my first choice—look at her.”