Rosie O'Donnell, a former co-host of ABC's talk show "The View," was unexpectedly thrust into the political limelight when GOP presidential hopeful Donald Trump verbally jabbed at her Thursday during the first prime-time Republican debate in Cleveland. And while Trump has made waves during his campaign for his controversial remarks, O'Donnell has also made comments in the past that drew the public's ire.
During Trump's campaign announcement, he made comments about Mexican immigrants that led to a number of business partners, like Univision and NBCUniversal, ditching the real estate mogul. "When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best," Trump said June 16 in New York City. "They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people."
When O'Donnell was a co-host of "The View" in December 2006, she made comments about Asians while discussing a seemingly drunken appearance on the show by actor Danny DeVito that similarly stirred public outrage. "The fact is that it's news all over the world," she said. "That you know, you can imagine in China it's like, 'Ching chong … ching chong. Danny DeVito, ching chong, chong, chong, chong. Drunk. 'The View.' Ching chong."
Asian community leaders responded to use of the phrase "Ching chong." "The 'ching-chong' bit is not a trivial matter," John C. Liu, then a New York City councilman, told Fox News at the time. "It really hits a raw nerve for many people in the community -- many like myself, who grew up with these kinds of taunts. We all know that it never ends at the taunts."
On an episode of "The View" after the comments, O'Donnell apologized, saying "she never intended to hurt anyone," according to E! Online. "So apparently 'ching-chong,' unbeknownst to me, is a very offensive way to make fun, quote unquote, or mock, Asian accents. Some people have told me it's as bad as the N-word. I was like, really? I didn't know that," she said, according to E! Online.
She also landed in hot water for brash comments about Tom Cruise in 2002 and for suggesting people who lie get cancer, according to Business Insider.
O'Donnell was brought into a public spat with Trump while the candidate -- who led in the polls by double-digit percentage points before the debate -- addressed a prodding question from moderator Megyn Kelly about the businessman calling women he didn't like, "fat pigs, dogs, slobs, and disgusting animals." Trump later interrupted Kelly by saying, "Only Rosie O’Donnell," to laughter and applause from the crowd. “For the record, it was well beyond Rosie O’Donnell,” Kelly said. O'Donnell posted to Twitter about attempting to explain that situation to her children.
try explaining that 2 ur kids
— Rosie (@Rosie) August 7, 2015
The two outspoken celebrities have a history of clashing. O'Donnell called Trump a "snake-oil salesman," in 2006 over his refusal to fire troubled then-Miss USA Tara Conner over drug abuse, according to Yahoo! Celebrity. She also commented on Trump's marriage, saying, "[He] left the first wife -- had an affair," according to Newsweek. "[He] had kids both times, but he's the moral compass for 20-year-olds in America. Donald, sit and spin, my friend."
Trump responded to O'Donnell's comments to People magazine, saying he would likely sue her. "Rosie's a loser. A real loser. I look forward to taking lots of money from my nice fat little Rosie," he said. Through the years he has also called O'Donnell a "degenerate" and poked fun at her personal life on Twitter. O'Donnell responded to a barb about her wife by calling Trump an "ass" on Twitter. Just last summer, when O'Donnell announced what would prove to be a brief return to "The View," Trump tweeted, "Rosie is crude, rude, obnoxious and dumb -- other than that, I like her very much!"
— Rosie (@Rosie) December 14, 2011