Trump attacks Will and Grace actor as US braces for 'catastrophic' hurricane Dorian

With a devastating storm approaching and a day after the latest deadly mass shooting, the US president sets out his priority: settling a score with a Hollywood actress

Phil Thomas
New York
Sunday 01 September 2019 15:36
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Trump attacks Will and Grace actor as US braces for 'catastrophic' hurricane Dorian

As a potentially catastrophic hurricane headed towards the US coast and a day after the latest mass shooting left five dead and dozens wounded, Donald Trump swung into action - by attacking a former sitcom actress.

Mr Trump lashed out after Debra Messing and her Will and Grace co-star Eric McCormack called for attendees at an upcoming Trump fundraiser being held to coincide with the Emmy Awards to be named and shamed.

On Friday she tweeted: "Please print a list of all attendees please. The public has a right to know."

And she retweeted a message from McCormack addressed to the Hollywood Reporter, which had published news of the fundraiser, saying: "Hey, @THR, kindly report on everyone attending this event, so the rest of us can be clear about who we don’t wanna work with. Thx."

The president responded on Sunday morning by claiming that Messing had once "profusely thanked me, even calling me Sir" but added "how times have changed".

Mr Trump tweeted: "I have not forgotten that when it was announced that I was going to do The Apprentice, and when it then became a big hit, helping NBC’s failed lineup greatly, @DebraMessing came up to me at an Upfront & profusely thanked me, even calling me “Sir.” How times have changed!"

It was the latest in a weekend of surprising priorities for the president.

Having cancelled a trip to Poland to help commemorate the Nazi invasion which sparked the Second World War, saying he wanted to focus on the threat from Hurricane Dorian, Mr Trump proceeded to spend the day playing golf. His game in Virginia coincided with the latest mass shooting, in Odessa, Texas, in which five people were killed and more than 20 wounded.

Mike Pence, the vice-president, attended the commemoration in Warsaw in his place.

The wording of Mr Trump's attack on Messing - and his use of the word 'Sir' - will raise eyebrows. In July CNN fact-checker Daniel Dale claimed that the president's use of the word invariably suggested that there was something inaccurate in his anecdote.

Dale wrote: "I've fact-checked every word Trump has uttered since his inauguration. I can tell you that if this President relays an anecdote in which he has someone referring to him as "sir", then some major component of the anecdote is very likely to be wrong."

Mr Trump is known to be unable to resist hitting back at even minor criticism.

In 2012, four years before becoming president, he tweeted: "When someone attacks me, I always attack back...except 100x more. This has nothing to do with a tirade but rather, a way of life!"

He is also known to make repeated mentions of the ratings his reality show The Apprentice drew.

In July he resumed an ongoing public spat with his successor as host of the show - Arnold Schwarzenegger, another celebrity turned politician - claiming that the former California governor had "died", referring to his ratings.

Schwarzenegger hit back, tweeting: "I’m still here. Want to compare tax returns, @realDonaldTrump?"

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