As NewsBusters reported here, on the December 20, 2006 edition of The View, co-host Rosie O’Donnell sparked a war of words and the threat of a lawsuit over comments she made about real estate mogul Donald Trump. Her statement that he had been bankrupt "many times" was particularly infuriating to the billionaire. On the January 3 show, Barbara Walters, who noted O’Donnell’s absence from today’s show was due to a "long-planned vacation," was left to clean up the mess, and delivered this statement from ABC:
Barbara Walters: "Okay, guys, as I said earlier, Rosie is on a long-planned vacation with Kelli and the kids, and not, I can promise you, with Donald Trump. Now, speaking of which, 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.’"
Walters then denied Trump’s charge that she regrets her decision to hire O’Donnell to replace Meredith Vieira:
Walters: "But while I am clearing things up, Donald Trump also said that I am not happy with my decision to bring Rosie O’Donnell to this table. Nothing could be further from the truth. I have never regretted, nor do I now, the hiring of Rosie O’Donnell. When Rosie left her own show four years ago, at the height of its popularity, ‘cause she wanted to spend more time with her children, I thought that she would probably not come back to daytime and, and she wouldn't want to work in an ensemble. But she did, and she has said that she did it for me. And she has brought a new vitality to this show and the ratings prove it."
Walters then went on to describe how O’Donnell has been good for the daytime chat show:
Walters: "But I don't want you to take my word for it. I want you to know how good Rosie has been for The View. Look at The New York Times, who just said, and I’m quoting again, ‘the best party, the kind that risks a police raid.’ And then Entertainment Weekly put us on one of their top show lists. USA Today called Rosie the year’s best hire. I couldn’t agree more, and next Monday we will all welcome her back with open arms. Yes? [audience cheers and applause]"
Once O’Donnell returns from her vacation, it will be fascinating to see how soon it will be before Walters is called upon to once again to put out the flames of another Rosie controversy.