For days, Debra Messing, the star of "Will & Grace," has been calling for a full disclosure of President Donald Trump’s supporters, arguing that the public should know who is donating to and fundraising for his re-election campaign. On Thursday, that effort drew a fierce reaction from Trump, who compared her to the 1950s anti-Communist demagogue Sen. Joseph McCarthy.
“Bad 'actress' Debra The Mess Messing is in hot water. She wants to create a 'Blacklist' of Trump supporters, & is being accused of McCarthyism,” Trump tweeted Thursday.
Trump was apparently responding to a tweet that Messing— a Trump critic who appeared on stage at the 2016 Democratic National Convention — posted early Saturday morning with a link to a Hollywood Reporter story about Trump's expected attendance at a Republican National Committee fundraiser in Beverly Hills later this month. In the tweet, Messing requested that the magazine print a list of the event's attendees.
“Please print a list of all attendees please. The public has a right to know,” Messing, a star of the NBC show, wrote. Her co-star in the show, Eric McCormack, had tweeted a similar request earlier.
Messing’s tweet sparked controversy online and on television, including a tense exchange Tuesday on ABC’s “The View," during which Whoopi Goldberg compared Messing’s demand to McCarthy’s Hollywood blacklist of the 1950s — which led to the denial of employment to hundreds of people in the movie and television industry who were believed to be associated with communism.
In his tweets on Thursday, Trump also wrote that Messing was “being accused of being a Racist because of the terrible things she said about blacks and mental illness.”
That apparently referred to another Saturday post by Messing in which she re-tweeted a story about an Alabama church that had erected a sign reading, “A black vote for Trump is mental illness.”
Messing has since deleted that re-tweet.
In his tweets, Trump went on to call on NBC to fire Messing and compared her situation to the one that unfolded for Roseanne Barr, who was fired from ABC last year after posting a racist tweet.
“If Roseanne Barr said what she did, even being on a much higher rated show, she would have been thrown off television,” Trump tweeted.”Will Fake News NBC allow a McCarthy style Racist to continue? ABC fired Roseanne. Watch the double standard!”
Last year, following the successful reboot by ABC of Barr’s “Roseanne” sitcom, Barr posted a racist tweet about Valerie Jarrett, a black former aide to former President Barack Obama.
ABC swiftly canceled the show, although the network later revived it once again, but under a different name and without Barr in the cast.
Messing, for her part, apologized for her tweets in series of posts Wednesday.
“I apologized for liking that church sign. I said I regret it. I shud have thought before recklessly supporting,” she wrote. “The use of the term ‘mentally ill’ was wrong & hurtful.”
She added that she “NEVER NOR WOULD EVER call for a blacklist of anyone for any reason."
Later Thursday, the actress tweeted out a New Yorker article on Trump's lashing out at a wide range of targets over the past month, writing beneath the link: "I truly hope his family gets him the help he needs. Sad.