President Trump called “Borat” actor Sacha Baron Cohen a “creep” and said “I don’t find him funny” in response to the British comedian’s new movie that purports to show Rudy Giuliani in a compromising situation with a woman alone in a hotel room.
Speaking aboard Air Force One on Friday, the president told reporters that the comedian had once tried to trick him with a fake interview before he was president.
“Years ago he tried to scam me,” Trump said. “And I was the only one that said, ‘No way. This guy is a phony guy.” Trump also said, “I don’t find him funny,” before adding “To me, he’s a creep.”
Baron Cohen responded to the president on Twitter on Saturday, writing, “Donald, I appreciate the free publicity for Borat! I admit, I don’t find you funny either. But yet the whole world laughs at you.”
“A complete fabrication”
There’s a scene in the new “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” (sequel to the 2006 mocumentary “Borat”) that makes it look like former New York City mayor (and current Trump lawyer) Giuliani was behaving inappropriately with a 24-year-old actress, who was pretending to be a reporter.
On Twitter, Giuliani said that he was tucking in his shirt after the actress had pulled it out while removing his microphone at the conclusion of the interview. “The Borat video is a complete fabrication. I was tucking in my shirt after taking off the recording equipment,” Giuliani said.
Slate has an in-depth analysis of the footage, which points out that the 32-second scene involving Giuliani had nine edits. The analysis concludes that, “There’s nothing in the film that proves Giuliani’s intentions, and there are enough places where the audio and editing could have been manipulated to make the encounter seem creepier than it actually was.” The analysis also says that, “It would be unwise to draw a definitive conclusion that Giuliani was attempting to seduce [the actress].”
Baron Cohen has not released the raw, unedited footage, which could clarify what actually occurred. Instead, he said, “If the President’s lawyer found what he did there appropriate behavior, then heaven knows what he’s done with other female journalists in hotel rooms. I just urge everyone to watch the movie. It is what it is. He did what he did. And make your own mind up. It was pretty clear to us.”
Notice Baron Cohen’s repeated use of vague language (“It is what it is. He did what he did” and “It was pretty clear to us”). Cohen did not actually make an allegation of specific behavior, which could expose him to legal jeopardy if untrue.
Trump walked out of 2003 interview after sniffing out phony act
Prior to gaining fame with his “Borat” character, Baron Cohen played a wannabe rapper named Ali G for “Da Ali G Show.”
In 2003 Trump sat for an interview with him, believing that it was for the BBC, but he quickly deduced that that interview was a bogus act and walked out.
He talked about the incident with Dave Portnoy of Barstool Sports in July, after Portnoy reminded the president about what happened and congratulated him for being the only one on the show to sniff out that it was a fake interview.
“I said ‘Hey this guy’s a total fraud,’ and I left,” Trump said. “I just felt it was a phony deal.”
In the video, a clearly skeptical Trump ends the interview after about a minute and a half.