Washington - On Sunday night, Chrissy Teigen was preparing for her daughter's first day of school with a tradition familiar to parents across the country: listing 3-year-old Luna's favourite things in bright, multicolored letters on a framed chalkboard sign.
But as the model, cookbook author and TV personality would later tell her 11 million Twitter followers, the night had taken a weird turn. President Donald Trump saw Teigen's husband, singer John Legend, on an MSNBC town hall about criminal justice reform and fired off angry tweets, lamenting that the special had not mentioned the expansive bipartisan criminal justice bill he signed in December.
One of Trump's targets was Legend - one of the president's most vocal celebrity critics - whom he called "boring." But Trump didn't stop there - he also referred to Legend's "filthy mouthed wife".
Teigen has made no secret of her disdain for Trump, who famously blocked her on the social media platform during his first year in office. But his mention of her in a tweet about criminal justice reform was baffling. "The absolute best part of his tweet is I literally didn't speak in the special, nor was I mentioned,"
Teigen mused. In another, pointedly filthy mouthed tweet, she characterized the president using three expletives (at least two of which the president has also used) that became a widely shared hashtag.
The exchange captured the type of vitriol that Teigen (and other less famous women) often faces on social media. Trump's critics were quick to note that he has a pattern of attacking women of colour in particular; he was widely criticised in July for telling four Democratic congresswomen of colour to "go back" to "the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came."
Teigen, who first cultivated a vibrant social media presence with pithy posts about food, has weathered a barrage of social media criticism - about her parenting, her marriage, her career and, as noted in a 2014 New York Times profile, her weight.
Trump's tweet certainly wasn't the first time that she had been reduced to her relationship with her husband, who notably referenced the president's spouse, first lady Melania Trump, in his own response. After years of unsolicited commentary from strangers on social media, she has perfected a knack for witty, discussion-ending retorts that often leave deleted tweets in their wake.
When a Twitter user posted a "respectful" inquiry as to whether Teigen was "pregnant again," she responded: "I just had a baby but thank you for being soooo respectful."
After she was criticised for sharing a photo of her breast-feeding her son (and pretending to feed a doll, at her daughter's request), Teigen wrote: "I don't care to see grainy fireworks, coachella selfies or infinity pool pics but i let people live."
When Legend posted a photo of Teigen bottle-feeding their son, Miles, one Instagram user pressed: "You no longer breastfeed?" The model could have pointed out that many breast-feeding moms feed their children pumped breast milk (or that it was simply none of the commenter's business), but she went with: "John never breastfed Miles."
She once politely thanked a critic for offering notes on a recent magazine cover, adding "if you could please send me specific tips and tricks (or past covers you've shot for reference!) that would be so awesome."
There are many more examples, often captured by the commentsbychrissyteigen Instagram and chronicled at least annually by BuzzFeed. Occasionally, Teigen's retorts lead the offending social media users to apologise. When she lobbed an expletive at a Twitter user who asserted she had "no discernible talent", the user admitted he sometimes "forget(s) there are real people with real feelings on the other side of the screen".
"I see this and appreciate what you've said," Teigen wrote back. She has admitted that, despite appearances, the criticism often gets to her. "Much stronger people are like 'I don't care what you think," she told Vogue last year. "I genuinely do care."
Still, Teigen's feisty comebacks have earned her a perpetually growing fan base, which on Monday included just about every late-night host. Trevor Noah gleefully repeated the model's rare triple-expletive for Trump, noting that the profanity had presented a challenge for cable news stations.
"She just beat Trump at Twitter and nicknames," Stephen Colbert quipped. Jimmy Kimmel told viewers that Teigen's retort got "almost 10 times as many likes" as Trump's tweet. "Which, I think, means she's our new president, right?" he joked.
Even Meghan McCain, who regularly spars with her liberal co-hosts on "The View", declared her support for Teigen.
The model, unlike the notoriously criticism-averse president, also has a penchant for making fun of herself. In July, she accidentally tweeted the full first episode of "Bring the Funny," the NBC comedy competition she began co-hosting over the summer, instead of an intended clip. "Well it looks like I have been fired for posting the whole thing thank u all for your kind texts and DMs please send job opportunities to same number," she joked.
On Monday, after her presidential riposte went viral, Teigen went back to her social media roots, sharing a video of her eating takeout pasta. She later reported that some of it had ended up on her couch. "Karma," she concluded, was also that string of three curse words she applied to the president.
The Washington Post
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