Of all the strange, twisted subplots in the 2016 presidential campaign, one of the grossest has been Donald Trump's ongoing public harassment of Rosie O'Donnell. About a decade ago, he launched a furious war of verbal abuse against O'Donnell, then a co-host on ABC's The View. Now that he's a major party presidential nominee he's had to answer for that ― but rather than apologizing, he's doubled down and insisted that she "deserves it." And in a strange turn of events, O'Donnell met a member of the Trump clan while at a restaurant. Read O'Donnell's powerful poem about meeting Ivanka Trump, because it addresses this public shaming directly and with tremendous impact.
O'Donnell posted the poem to Rosie.com on Thursday, more than a week following the first presidential debate of the 2016 campaign. It was during that same debate in which the Republican nominee and real estate baron insisted that "nobody would disagree" that O'Donnell deserved it when he called her a "fat pig," a "slob," and a "loser," among other things, and that "nobody feels sorry for her."
That high-profile public demeaning was the backdrop to O'Donnell's chance encounter with his daughter Ivanka earlier this week, which has since been confirmed by the Trump campaign.
Here's how O'Donnell described the event in a poem, posted to her website, titled "8 million to one."
i saw 4 cops – security i thoughtwell dressedjovial – handsome – “yo rosie”“wasssup men” my common reply
we walk toward one of the quiet boothsbehind the stairwayi am tiredthis is the first time i have been out
out of bed really – to be honestsince the debatei have been sleeping a lotdepression clings to me
it’s hard to walkto showerto tryto care
i see a couplesitting close togetherin a small corner boothdirectly across from me
i watch themstunned by her faceand his calming charmthey were definitely a THEY
obvious for all to seeoblivious to all seeing themlove works like thisi thought
twoso connectedalone togetherin a crowded corner
“that is the most beautiful woman i have ever seen”i say aloud to danashe turns to look – turns back at me“that’s ivanka”
can’t be i saidno it can’t beit is –she reassures me
what r the chances i say to myselfas dana walked to the hostess station to aski stared at the young coupleas they ate – unaware
i was captivated by her beautyit blinded me soi didn’t realize it was even hertil dana walked back to the table –
nodding slowlyyesshe saidit was
dear godi prayedguide meout of here
we stood to move to another tablebut i knew i could not staymy heart i worriedwould break again
it did 4 years agoi won’t survive another onechange ur lifeis the prescription
i walked the 5 steps toward her tableintroduced myselfshe smiled genuinelyher husband was warm and gracious
i told her of my childrensome truths about myselfmy pain and shameshe was absurdly kind
“i just wanted u to know”i said in a shaky quiet voicei then made my way down the large wooden stairwayinto my waiting car
the entire encounterstart to finishwas 4 minutesmax
i wrote a book onceabout bashertthe concept ofmeant to be
it has comforted meon my darkest dayswhen my inner voices screamu deserved it
as her father hassame as my own
If that poem doesn't stir something in you, you might be more than a little short on empathy. This isn't the first time O'Donnell has said something poignant about now being turned into a public punching bag in the midst of a presidential campaign ― at the hands of a man who could soon be the most powerful person on Earth, no less. During the first Republican primary debate, after Trump insisted (falsely) that his long history of sexist verbal abuse was only directed at O'Donnell, she tweeted the following:
Hopefully, when this race is finally over, O'Donnell won't have to suffer these kinds of public indignities anymore. For what it's worth, however, she did seem to come away with a positive view of Ivanka. In a tweet following their chance meeting, O'Donnell said "in a city of 8 million - we meet face 2 face - i thank u 4 listening - mother 2 mother - on this new years week - my best 2 u."