The pair trade insults – and Trump threatens to sue – after O'Donnell criticizes him
Rosie O’Donnell had some fiery words for Donald Trump on The View Wednesday morning, calling him a “snake-oil salesman” following his announcement that he would not fire troubled Miss USA Tara Conner.
After hearing about her comments, Trump fired back to PEOPLE, calling her “a woman out of control” and saying he planned to sue O’Donnell over her statements questioning his financial well-being.
“You can’t make false statements,” Trump tells PEOPLE exclusively. “Rosie will rue the words she said. I’ll most likely sue her for making those false statements – and it’ll be fun. Rosie’s a loser. A real loser. I look forward to taking lots of money from my nice fat little Rosie.”
The battle began on Wednesday’s show, when a peeved O’Donnell said: “(He) left the first wife – had an affair. (He) had kids both times, but he’s the moral compass for 20-year-olds in America. Donald, sit and spin, my friend.”
O’Donnell, who impersonated Trump by deepening her voice and flipping her hair to one side, aimed her criticism at his comment from the Tuesday press conference that, “I’ve always been a believer in second chances. Tara is good person. Tara has tried hard. Tara is going to be given a second chance.”
Conner, who just turned 21, will go to rehab but keep her crown, following reports of alleged drug and alcohol abuse. A grateful Conner apologized for her behavior at the press conference, and she thanked Trump for his compassion.
But O’Donnell was not as touched. After repeatedly saying she “didn’t enjoy him,” Rosie discussed Trump’s finances – saying he went bankrupt, which Trump denies – and likened him to the “snake-oil salesman on Little House On The Prairie. This is not a self-made man,” O’Donnell said.
And while O’Donnell and her View co-hosts discussed Conner’s alleged drug and alcohol abuse, Rosie was dismissive, saying, “She went out and she was partying – doing what Paris and Lindsay do.”
She also turned her wrath toward the Miss USA organization itself. “Miss America is the prestige,” she said. “Miss USA is a different thing. It’s basically a model competition. Let’s be realistic.”
Trump’s response? “She talked about the Miss USA contest, which has terrific ratings on NBC. Miss America got thrown off of network television! It’s (on cable), where nobody watches it,” he said, countering her statements. “And my father never gave me tons of money.”
He also thinks Rosie’s rant against him was personal. Trump says he once sarcastically chastised Rosie about her “failed magazine” and “failed talk show.” Added The Donald: “I think she’s just terrible.”
For her part, O’Donnell seemed to realize she was in for a fight after she criticized Trump, adding: “Here comes the lawsuit. Get ready. This is going to be good.”
On Wednesday afternoon The View executive producers, Bill Geddie and Barbara Walters, issued a statement in support of O’Donnell – and Trump.
“Both Rosie and Donald are high-spirited, opinionated people. Donald has been a friend of The View for many years and Rosie, of course, is our enormously popular moderator. We cherish them both and hope the new year brings calm and peace.”