Two days after the president's top lawyer said that he doesn't respect sex workers, the president indicated that he doesn't, either. While addressing allegations that Donald Trump had an extramarital affair with adult film actress Stormy Daniels, Rudy Giuliani said Wednesday that he doesn't "respect a porn star the way I respect a career woman," and on Friday, President Trump responded positively to Giuliani's comment about Daniels.
"I'm not going to disagree with him on that," said Trump, who categorically denies having had an affair with Daniels, on Friday when asked about Giuliani's comments. "Rudy's great, but Rudy is Rudy. But Rudy is doing a very good job, actually. He's doing a very good job."
Giuliani, a longtime ally of the president, joined Trump's legal team in April after several other high-profile lawyers reportedly refused to work with the president. He's weighed in on many of Trump's legal matters since then, including not only the Daniels case — which is actually several lawsuits — but also Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russian election meddling and possible obstruction of justice by the Trump team, and the upcoming summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
While commenting on the Daniels' case Wednesday, Giuliani erroneously implied that no woman who works in adult film can be "a career woman" or a "woman of substance," and suggested that sex workers don't respect themselves.
"I respect all human beings," Giuliani said at at an event in Tel Aviv. "I have to respect criminals. I'm sorry, I don't respect a porn star the way I respect a career woman, or a woman of substance, or a woman who has great respect for herself as a woman, and as a person and isn't going to sell her body for sexual exploitation."
At the same event, Giuliani insulted Daniels' physical appearance and implied that she's too ugly to have had an affair with Trump.
"I don't think that there's even a slight suspicion that [the allegations are] true," Giuliani said. "Because when you — excuse me — but when you look at Stormy Daniels..." The former mayor then trailed off and contorted his face into what might be described as a "yikes" expression. He then told the audience to "look at [Trump's] three wives."
"Beautiful women, classy women, women of great substance," Giuliani said. "Stormy Daniels? Pfft."
Giuliani's comments were widely condemned for several reasons. Many pointed out that that his condemnation of the porn industry and sex workers was self-defeating, given that Trump himself has appeared in three porn films and has a framed picture of himself on the cover of Playboy in his office. Giuliani's remarks were viewed as demeaning toward female sex workers specifically and women in general; at one point, a moderator at the event interjected and said that "on this stage, we respect women." Daniels' lawyer Michael Avenatti tweeted after the fact that "Mr. Giuliani is a misogynist," while Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski tore into Giuliani for reducing Daniels to "[her] looks and nothing else."
"Every woman who has something to say about this needs to step up for Stormy. I swear to God," Brzesinski said. "Because saying 'just look at her' and laughing derisively says everything you need to know about this presidency and their attitude toward women. Everything you need to know. It was about as disgusting as it gets."
It wasn't only outside observers who criticized Giuliani's remarks, however. He also said at the Tel Aviv event that First Lady Melania Trump "believes her husband" and "knows [the allegations are] untrue," prompting a rebuke from Melania Trump's spokesperson Stephanie Grisham.
"I don't believe Mrs. Trump has ever discussed her thoughts on anything with Mr. Giuliani," Grisham told CNN in a statement.