As an invited guest to the White House Correspondents’ Dinner in 1993, Donald Trump spent the entire evening ogling — and making lewd comments about — women at the event, at one point moving a fellow guest stuck seated next to him nearly to tears.
In an editorial by Graydon Carter published online Tuesday, the Vanity Fair editor-in-chief explains Trump had been invited as a “novelty guest” to the function, meant to make a splash in tabloids on Vanity Fair’s behalf.
Trump was seated at a table with other such guests: Christopher Hitchens, Bob Shrum, Barry Diller, Diane von Furstenberg, Peggy Noonan, Tipper Gore, and Vendela Kirsebom, who at the time was a prominent runway model. Carter sat her next to Trump.
“After 45 minutes [Kirsebom] came over to my table, almost in tears, and pleaded with me to move her,” he writes. “It seems that Trump had spent his entire time with her assaying the ‘tits’ and legs of the other female guests and asking how they measured up to those of other women, including his wife. ‘He is,’ she told me, in words that seemed familiar, ‘the most vulgar man I have ever met.’”
Trump’s treatment of women has come under extra scrutiny since the first presidential debate on Sept. 26, when Hillary Clinton told the story of Alicia Machado, the 1996 winner of the Miss Universe competition who Trump publicly shamed into losing weight. He also reportedly referred to her by names including “Miss Piggy” and “Miss Housekeeping.”
The morning after the debate, Trump blamed Machado for his behavior, saying she had “gained a massive amount of weight,” and later urged his Twitter followers to find a sex tape featuring Machado, the existence of which is still unproven.
Carter, who co-founded the satirical publication Spy Magazine in 1986, became the editor-in-chief of Vanity Fair in 1992. Spy was well-known for its pranks targeting New York’s gaudy socialites in the late ‘80s.
In one notable stunt, discussed in Tuesday’s editorial, the magazine sent checks for increasingly small sums to New York’s “well-known” and “well-heeled” to see who would cash them. When the checks dropped to 13 cents, just two recipients thought them worth signing: Adnan Khashoggi, the billionaire Saudi Arabian arms dealer, and Donald Trump.
Spy Magazine was also the first to notice Trump’s digits, labeling him a “short-fingered vulgarian,” to his continued frustration (Trump still sends photos of his hands to Carter, fingers circled in gold Sharpie).