Rosie O'Donnell Criticized for Promoting Rumor That Barron Trump May Be Autistic

The comedian was slammed for the suggestion, though she claimed her motivation was compassion.


Comedian Rosie O’Donnell, whose feud with Donald Trump is the stuff of legend, tweeted out a video speculating that the president-elect’s youngest son, Barron, may be autistic. Along with the footage, O’Donnell included a message stating, “Barron Trump Autistic? if so, what an amazing opportunity to bring attention to the AUTISM epidemic.”

The tweet was met with plenty of anger from all sides. An article on Sean Hannity’s site headlined “SHAMELESS! Rosie O'Donnell Goes After Donald Trump's 10-Year-Old Son” accused O’Donnell of “plumbing the depths of poor taste.” Conservative author Mike Cernovich tweeted an indictment of O’Donnell and the left, while others suggested O’Donnell is still angry over the election results.

O’Donnell responded by retweeting a follower who wrote, “people with an Autistic child can note signs before others at times & being autistic is nothing to be ashamed of.” She also made reference to her daughter, Chelsea. Earlier this year, a representative for O’Donnell told press that Chelsea “lives with mental illness.”


Donald Trump has expressed opposition to vaccines—though their link to autism has been disproved many times over—once tweeting, "Healthy young child goes to doctor, gets pumped with massive shot of many vaccines, doesn't feel good and changes - AUTISM. Many such cases!" He has also referred to autism as "an epidemic."


Kali Holloway is a senior writing fellow and the senior director of Make It Right, a project of the Independent Media Institute.