US President Donald Trump accused the media of misinterpreting his earlier comments about Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, in an interview with the Piers Morgan broadcast of ITV in the UK on Wednesday.
In an interview with the tabloid of the sun, Trump had referred to remarks made by the American-born duchess about him before she became part of the British royal family as “filthy”
During the 2016 election campaign, the Duchess – then Meghan Markle – called Trump “hatred of women” and “divide”. The American actress also said she might move to Canada if Trump was elected president. Two years later she married Prince Harry.
When he suggested that he had not been aware of Markle’s comments in 2016, prior to preparations for his upcoming state visit to Britain and his royal reception on Monday, Trump said in a sound recording of the sun: “I knew not that she was filthy “in response to a question Markle’s earlier comments mentioned.
But after the interview was published, Trump felt misunderstood.
On Sunday, Trump suggested that his comments were taken out of context. He wrote on Twitter: “I never called Meghan Markle ‘c
nasty ‘, compiled by the fake news media, and they have a cold!”
In his ITV interview broadcast on Wednesday, Trump reiterated that he had only referred to her comments. “I said,” Well, I didn’t know she was nasty. “I didn’t mean she was nasty, I said she was nasty about me,” Trump told ITV, Piers Morgan.
“She was nasty to me, and that’s okay for her to be nasty. It’s not good for me to be mean to her, and not me,” Trump added, calling the duchess “nice” in the same interview while he acknowledged that he did not know her.
In the United States, Trump’s earlier comments were seen as part of a pattern of often humiliating attacks on female critics, his opponents said. Trump also used the word to describe his Democratic opponent during a 2016 presidential debate, calling Hillary Clinton an “annoying woman” – words that later became a battle cry for the anti-Trump movement.
Trump’s criticism of the Duchess was quickly condemned by a number of British commentators prior to his state visit, which began Monday and triggered massive protests in London.
“You know, we don’t care what he thinks about us,” British lawyer and political activist Shola Mos-Shogbamimu told Sky News on Saturday. “Women stand up together and speak out against the madness of his presidency.”
But in Britain, Trump’s remarks prior to the trip also echoed the concerns expressed in the run-up to Meghan and Harry‘s wedding last year: that her former political activism might make things uncomfortable for the royal family, who are not public should express political views. As a child, she began to speak out against sexism and did not hide her other personal beliefs during her acting career, including thoughts about American politics. As a member of the British royal family, Meghan has already strayed further into the political territory than others – for example, by speaking out against racism with which she has been personally confronted in recent months.
The Duchess, who had recently given birth, did not meet Trump during his state visit. But throughout the visit, observers looked at other signs of potential tensions between the royal family and Trump.
Some felt that the otherwise diplomatic speech of the queen at the state banquet was a subtle response to Trump when she praised the international institutions that Trump was trying to weaken. Others focused on Prince Harry and felt that he missed Trump during the visit.
But in his ITV interview, Trump rejected that claim and said he had met the prince.
“I congratulated him and I think he is a great guy, the royal family is very nice,” Trump said.