CBS Reporter Responds to Trump's Gripe That Female Journalists Aren't Like '50s Actress Donna Reed: 'True'
President Donald Trump said in a recent New York Post interview (perhaps sarcastically) that women reporters who have pushed back on his comments at his novel coronavirus briefings weren't acting like 1950s movie star and sitcom housewife Donna Reed.
One reporter that he was directly criticizing said he was right — to her credit.
"President Trump tells @nypost I am nothing like 50's American archetypal mom Donna Reed," CBS political reporter Paula Reid tweeted Tuesday morning. "Fact-check: True."
Trump's comment came during an interview with the Post published on Tuesday during which he complained about reporters' attitudes and specifically called out Reid and her CBS News colleague Weijia Jiang.
“It wasn’t Donna Reed, I can tell you that,” Trump, 73, told the paper, referring to the It's a Wonderful Life and From Here to Eternity star, who also appeared in The Donna Reed Show.
The Post interview does not expand on his comparison, though it appeared to be about the journalists' tone.
The president added: “Paula Reid, she’s sitting there and I say, ‘How angry. I mean, what’s the purpose?’ They’re not even tough questions, but you see the attitude of these people, it’s like incredible."
Trump's tumultuous relationship with the media was on full display throughout April, during his daily coronavirus task force briefings.
He often argued with and scolded reporters — his voice sometimes rising almost to a yell — about what he said were unfavorable questions and coverage and a lack of congratulations over his choices in responding to the pandemic.
In addition to contentious exchanges with Reid and Jiang — who has said a White House official privately referred to the virus as "kung flu" — Trump has had sharp words for CNN's Kaitlin Collins and PBS' Yomiche Alcindor, as well as male reporters like Jim Acosta.
During an April 23 briefing, Trump physically turned away from Collins and called CNN "fake news."
"Don't talk to me," Trump told her.
At other times, he told reporters — men and women — to be quiet and labeled their questions "nasty." He has a long history of referring to news media he doesn't like in bombastic terms such as "the enemy of the people."
He similarly has a long history of denigrating women with whom he disagrees, sometimes in intimately insulting terms.
Critics quickly linked his Post interview to those examples.
"He finally confirmed what we modern day women always knew: He expects women to be out of a 1950’s sitcom. In their place. Quiet. Home Makers," CNN commentator Sophia Nelson tweeted on Tuesday.
Other social media users were quick to point out that Reed, an Academy Award-winning actress who died in 1986, was a progressive celebrity for her time whose politics differed from the image Trump had in his head.
"Reality check," New Yorker writer Jane Mayer tweeted. "Donna Reed was an anti- war and pro- civil rights activist and professional actor who only played a housewife on TV."
Trump tweeted in 2018 that pornographic actress Stephanie Clifford — known professional as Stormy Daniels — was a "horseface"and has said Rosie O'Donnell, with whom he regularly fought, had "a fat, ugly face.”
He said former Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly had "blood coming out of her wherever" after she was co-moderating a 2015 Republican primary debate where she asked him about his attitudes toward women.
And in 2017 he claimed that MSNBC's "low I.Q." Mika Brzezinski once came to him while "bleeding badly from a face-lift."
Brzezinski told PEOPLE afterward: "Trump targets anything that pricks his ego. It is very sad that the leader of the free world can be played like a fiddle."
Trump similarly made fun of onetime rival Sen. Ted Cruz's wife's appearance during the 2016 campaign, retweeting an image of her next to now-First Lady Melania Trump along with the caption someone else had written: "images are worth a thousand words.”
The president, who has been accused of sexual misconduct or abuse by more than dozen women (which he denies), infamously bragged about touching women because of his celebrity status, as heard in a leaked 2005 Access Hollywood tape that was made public in October 2016 — one month before he was elected president.
"When you're a star, they let you do it," Trump said then while filming with Access Hollywood. "You can do anything. Grab them by the p----. You can do anything."
After Trump's "horseface" insult about Clifford, former Rep. Ryan Costello — a Republican who retired from Congress in 2019 — tweeted that Trump's repeated misogynistic actions were "unbecoming" and "embarrassing."
“To say this is unbecoming of any man, let alone the POTUS, is a vast understatement,” Costello wrote then. “And to say this enables teenage boys to feel they have a license to refer to girls with (sic) such names is obvious. It’s all very embarrassing.”