The Donald says his feud with the "wacko" Rosie upped the show's popularity

By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated January 04, 2007 08:00 AM
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Donald Trump believes that he – and not Rosie O’Donnell – deserves the praise that Barbara Walters lavished upon her View co-host Wednesday.

“Ratings are up because of me,” Trump told the New York Daily News in response to Walters’s on-air comment that O’Donnell “has brought a new vitality to this show, and the ratings prove it.”

But according to Trump, “The ratings are up a little bit, from their worst year, and the only reason ratings are up is because of her attack dog attacking people. The difference is those people never fought back.”

The feud between Trump and O’Donnell – who returns to The View on Monday after a scheduled vacation – began when O’Donnell called him a "snake-oil salesman" and said he’d been “bankrupt so many times.”

According to the Daily News, Trump’s lawyers demanded a retraction, and on Wednesday’s show, Walters said in a prepared statement, “ABC has asked me to say this just to clarify things, and I will quote: ‘Donald Trump has never filed for personal bankruptcy. Several of his casino companies have filed for business bankruptcies. They are out of bankruptcy now.’ ”

In a phone interview with the Associated Press, Trump said Wednesday that he appreciated that Walters “did a retraction,” but added, “She won’t be working with her long. I mean, that thing will explode because Rosie’s wacko.”

On Thursday’s Today show, former View moderator Meredith Viera asked Trump why his attacks on O’Donnell had become so “crude” – in particular, he’d called her “a fat pig.” He replied, “I have no choice. When someone attacks me, I attack back.” He added, “She said I have bad hair. I think I’d rather be a fat pig.”