Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter David Cay Johnston, the recipient of two pages of President Donald Trump’s 2005 tax return, has been slammed for controversial comments he made about First Lady Melania Trump on a show on MSNBC on March 14.
On the MSNBC show “The Last Word With Lawrence O’Donnell,” Johnston, who has written for The Daily Beast and The New York Times, openly said the first lady might have generated a lot of income due to “very sleazy porn pictures,” AOL reports.
He made the comment as he and host O’Donnell and panel member Rachel Maddow discussed the couple’s taxes filed for the year 2005.
During the show, O’Donnell observed Trump “has wages and salary income, which is unusual for someone in his case.”
Johnston then said: “Could be hers. His wife was a model.”
“Right,” O’Donnell responded, adding that while Melania’s earnings were included on the return “she was never at that league,” in reference to the first lady’s earlier modeling career.
Johnston, the author of the “Making of Donald Trump” then volunteered the statement that the first lady “did do very sleazy porn pictures.”
Maddow immediately reprimanded Johnston with a “hey, hey, hey.”
Johnston later clarified “[his] remark was accurate but out of place in that conversation” in a statement.
“Rachel appropriately reproved me for my brief remark, which I instantly realized was not appropriate in the context of that conversation.”
Twitter followers criticized the journalist for his comments about Melania.
One user wrote: “David Cay Johnston’s desire to talk about Melania’s ‘sleazy porn’ was the low point in the MSNBC coverage.”
Another Twitter user equated his comment with “slut shaming.”
“Did David Cay Johnston just attempt to slut shame Melania in an aside about Trump’s tax returns? Rachel Maddow shot a, ‘Hey, hey, hey…'” the user said.
In early February, Melania re-filed a libel lawsuit in New York against the Mail Online, a British news site that claimed she had worked for a high-end escort service in the past.
The Mail Online reacted by retracting the story but still faces the first lady’s $150 million lawsuit, the Independent reports.
The website had titled the story as “Naked photoshoots, and troubling questions about visas that won’t go away: The VERY racy past of Donald Trump’s Slovenian wife.”
She had previously filed against the media website and U.S.-based blogger Webster Tarpley, which also reported on the allegation.