The Trump Files: Donald’s Petty Revenge on Connie Chung

“She sent me roses afterward, and I won’t tell you what I did with the roses.”

Ivylise Simones

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

Until the election, we’re bringing you “The Trump Files,” a daily dose of telling episodes, strange but true stories, or curious scenes from the life of GOP nominee Donald Trump.

Donald Trump knows that a mere insult sometimes isn’t enough for a journalist he doesn’t like. So when CBS’ Connie Chung savaged Trump in a February 1990 interview on her show, Face to Face With Connie Chung, Donald concocted his Trumpiest revenge plot.

“You might just consider our next story to be a unique artifact of the ’80s, The Donald before the fall,” Chung said in the introduction. “It’s a conversation with Donald Trump literally just hours, we believe, before he told his wife, Ivana, that their marriage was over…What did Donald Trump know as he bravely strutted through our interview?”

Whatever he knew, Chung was clearly prepared to deflate the tycoon at what seemed like the height of his power. She spent much of the interview mocking Trump’s pretension about his buildings (“They aren’t that great. Come on.”), his claims that he didn’t like publicity, his constant talk of having renovated a skating rink in Central Park, and other Trump foibles.

CBS re-aired the interview that August, and Trump ripped Chung during an interview on the Joan Rivers Show a month after the rebroadcast. “This woman has less talent than anybody I know of,” he said. He called her a “disaster” and said she interviewed “like a little child.” Then he described his big revenge move.

“She sent me roses afterward, and I won’t tell you what I did with the roses,” Trump coyly told Rivers. When she prompted him for the big reveal, he caved. “I cut ’em up and sent ’em back,” Trump said. “I sent her back the stems. Actually, I did.”

Actually, Chung said, he didn’t. The Toronto Star reported that Chung was still “waiting for the stems” when it contacted her for comment.

Read the rest of “The Trump Files”:


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend