President Donald Trump dissed British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen as a “creep” following the Friday release of the second “Borat” film, which contains a scene in which former New York City mayor and Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, appears to touch his genitals in a hotel room in the company of a woman he believed was a journalist.
“I don’t know what happened,” Trump told reporters about the Giuliani affair, according to Deadline. “But years ago, you know, he tried to scam me.”
Trump was referring to an earlier encounter with Baron Cohen in 2003. The comedian was in the guise of Ali G — a satirical and stereotypical rapper obsessed with hip-hop culture — and had arranged a brief meeting with Trump to offer an intentionally absurd pitch for gloves that could be used to eat ice cream. The clip aired on HBO’s “Da Ali G Show” and can still be seen on YouTube.
“And I was the only one who said, ‘No way,’” Trump said, referring to how he quickly rejected Ali G’s proposal. “That’s a phony guy. And I don’t find him funny. I don’t know anything about him other than he tried to scam me. He came in as a BBC — British broadcasting anchor. ... To me, he was a creep.”
This is not the first time Trump has criticised Baron Cohen. In 2012, he called the “Borat” creator a “bad guy” and a “moron” after Baron Cohen pranked radio personality and television host Ryan Seacrest, spilling ashes on him during an Oscar red carpet celebration. (Baron Cohen later apologised for this incident.)
“I will tell you, if it had happened to me or happened to people I know, that guy would’ve been unconscious and lying on the ground, and nobody would’ve blamed us,” Trump said at the time.
For his part, on an episode of “The Late Late Show With James Corden” in May, Baron Cohen reflected on his Ali G meeting with Trump as his first realisation that Trump was a “dick.”
The comedian also lambasted the president as “the world’s greatest superspreader of coronavirus conspiracies” in a Time magazine editorial earlier this month. He also argued that his latest “Borat” film — filmed in secret during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic — is intended to be a satire showcasing the “dangerous slide into authoritarianism” that the U.S. has undergone under a Trump administration.
UPDATE: On Saturday, Cohen responded to Trump’s words by saying he appreciated the “free publicity for Borat” and didn’t find the president funny, either.