Report: Melania Trump Threatening to Sue Over False Autism Video

Letter from lawyer criticizes Rosie O'Donnell for online 'bullying'
November 29, 2016 Updated: November 29, 2016

First lady-to-be Melania Trump is threatening to file a lawsuit over a video that suggests her son, Barron Trump, is autistic. The video was promoted heavily by TV personality Rosie O’Donnell.

Trump reportedly hired a lawyer, who is threatening to sue over the false autism allegations, while describing O’Donnell as a “bully” for sharing the YouTube clip, according to a letter obtained by TMZ.

O’Donnell tweeted last week: “Barron Trump Autistic? If so – what an amazing opportunity to bring attention to the autism epidemic.” After that, she was heavily criticized for the post and was forced to repeatedly defend herself on social media. O’Donnel later wrote on her website that she wasn’t trying to attack Barron due to her infamously contentious relationship with President-elect Donald Trump, but that she was trying to raise awareness about autism. “I have no ill will for his children,” she wrote, adding that “this autism subject … had nothing to do with Donald.”

The letter from Trump attorney Charles J. Harder mentioned that the “video allegedly seeks to ‘stop the bullying’ of Barron Trump. Not true … The video did instigate further bullying by Rosie O’Donnell and others,” according to TMZ.

Rosie O'Donnell speaks on stage during the Worldwide Orphans' 10th Annual Gala Hosted by Katie Couric at Cipriani, Wall Street on November 17, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Worldwide Orphans)
Rosie O’Donnell speaks on stage during the Worldwide Orphans’ 10th Annual Gala Hosted by Katie Couric at Cipriani, Wall Street on Nov. 17, 2014, in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Worldwide Orphans)

The video shared by O’Donnell makes dubious claims that Barron displayed signs of autism by clapping his hands without putting his hands together. Barron only did this one time at the end of a long day at the Republican National Convention, but the “vast majority of the time, he claps normally,” Harder said.

The video also shows him yawning on Election Night when his father gave a victory speech at around 3 a.m., attempting to conflate the yawning with autism. Trump’s legal team said the events took place late at night and his behavior was normal for a 10-year-old child.

Harder wants the person who made the YouTube video to take it down and apologize.

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