FOLLOW THE WEEK ON FACEBOOK
February 9, 2016
DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images

After Donald Trump called Texas Sen. Ted Cruz a "pussy" on the campaign trail Monday for his stance on waterboarding, he played off the inflammatory comment as just a crowd having a good time. "We were all just having fun," Trump said Tuesday on MSNBC's Morning Joe, clarifying that he was simply repeating what a supporter shouted out during the rally so "everybody could hear."

Making off-the-cuff remarks and apologizing later isn't a new strategy for the outspoken real estate mogul. Here, five other times Trump has made a controversial comment and then later cast it as nothing but a joke. Becca Stanek

The issue: Cruz's hesitation on whether he would support waterboarding
Trump's comment: "She just said a terrible thing. You know what she said? Shout it out, 'cause I don't want to. Okay, you're not allowed to say — and I never expect to hear that from you again — she said... he's a pussy."
The excuse: "We were all just having fun. I was just repeating what she said so everyone could hear. I was doing everybody a favor. I got a standing ovation [and] the place went wild. You're talking about close to 5,000 people. It was a great moment. The world is politically correct."

The issue: His unshakeable popularity with voters
Trump's comment: "I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose voters."
The excuse: "That comment was said with me laughing and thousands of other people laughing. It was said as a joke — obviously it was a joke."

The issue: Climate change
Trump's comment: "The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive."
The excuse: "Well, I think the climate change is just a very, very expensive form of tax. A lot of people are making a lot of money. I know much about climate change. I'd be — received environmental awards. And I often joke that this is done for the benefit of China. Obviously, I joke. But this is done for the benefit of China, because China does not do anything to help climate change. They burn everything you could burn; they couldn't care less. They have very — you know, their standards are nothing. But they — in the meantime, they can undercut us on price. So it's very hard on our business."

The issue: His daughter, Ivanka
Trump's comment: "Yeah, she's really something, and what a beauty, that one. If I weren't happily married and, you know, her father..."
The excuse: "I said on a certain show — my daughter's a beautiful young woman — so I said, and I said it joking, everybody laughed, everybody laughed. I said, 'My daughter's so beautiful that if I weren't married, etc., etc. I'd be dating her.' Cute. It was cute. Everybody laughed... The next day [the headline was] 'Trump Wants to Date His Daughter.'"

The issue: Trump's treatment of women
Trump's comment: Fox News debate moderator Megyn Kelly referenced Trump's past remarks about women during the first GOP debate, asking him to explain why he has called women "fat pigs," "dogs," "slobs," and "disgusting animals."
The excuse: "I think the big problem this country has is being politically correct. Frankly what I say — and oftentimes, it's fun; it's kidding; we have a good time — what I say is what I say."

10:56 p.m. ET

When Jimmy Kimmel and the producers of this year's Academy Awards had the idea to surprise a group of Hollywood tourists by having them crash the ceremony, they probably had no idea that someone like Gary from Chicago was going to show up.

Gary walked into the Dolby Theater snapping photos on his iPhone, and he continued to do so as he walked past the front row of A-listers, shaking hands with Ryan Gosling, kissing Nicole Kidman and Octavia Spencer's hands, and ignoring Emma Stone and her brother. He was also able to hang out with newly-minted Oscar winner Mahershala Ali, who kindly let him hold his statue. Gary was accompanied by his fiancée, Vicki, who told Kimmel her favorite actor is Denzel Washington. That was all Kimmel had to hear — he asked Washington to serve as the best man at their wedding, but Washington did one better, and pronounced them husband and wife. "He's Denzel, so it's legal," Kimmel quipped. Watch the video of The Gary Show below. Catherine Garcia

10:23 p.m. ET

With her Academy Award win for best supporting actress on Sunday night, Fences star Viola Davis became the first black performer, and the 23rd person overall, to win an Oscar, an Emmy, and a Tony for acting.

In 2015, Davis, the star of How to Get Away with Murder, won an Emmy for outstanding lead actress in a drama series, and she has received two Tonys — one in 2011 for King Hedley II and one in 2010 for the Broadway performance of Fences. While Whoopi Goldberg has an Oscar, Emmy, and Tony, her Tony Award came from producing the Broadway musical Thoroughly Modern Millie, The Huffington Post reports. Other winners of the triple crown of acting include Helen Mirren, Al Pacino, and Ingrid Bergman. Catherine Garcia

9:34 p.m. ET

Without the calculations of NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson, the Apollo mission might not have happened, and the acclaimed movie Hidden Figures definitely would never have been made.

On Sunday, Johnson, 98, was honored by the Hidden Figures cast during the Academy Awards ceremony, where she received a standing ovation from the audience. Johnson's daughter, Katherine Moore, said her mother never bragged about her job, and also never backed down; while women normally weren't allowed to attend meetings at NASA, Johnson still sat in on them. "They never sent her out because nine times out of 10, she would have the answers," Moore told WNCN. Johnson received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015, and Moore said her hard work will inspire young girls for generations, teaching them "you can do anything you want to do." Catherine Garcia

8:53 p.m. ET
Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Businessman Philip Bilden, President Trump's pick for Navy secretary, has withdrawn his name from consideration, citing ethics requirements.

In a statement on Sunday, Bilden said the position would cause "undue disruption" to his family's financial interests, and he would not be able to satisfy rules by the Office of Government Ethics. Bilden also said he still "fully supports" Trump's agenda. Defense Secretary James Mattis said in a statement he will make a new recommendation to Trump soon. Earlier this month, Vincent Viola, a businessman and Trump's choice for Army secretary, dropped his bid for that position. Catherine Garcia

8:12 p.m. ET
Kristian Dowling/Getty Images

Judge Joseph Wapner, famous for presiding over The People's Court, died Sunday. He was 97.

Wapner's son, David, told The Associated Press his father, who was hospitalized a week ago, died in his sleep. Wapner was the original judge for The People's Court, staying with the program from 1981 until 1993 and inspiring the television judges who followed. A native of Los Angeles, Wapner was appointed to the Los Angeles Municipal Court in 1959 and the Los Angeles Superior Court in 1961. He retired in 1979, and was recommended for the show by a fellow judge. In 1986, Wapner told AP everything on The People's Court was real. "There's no script, no rehearsal, no retakes," he added. "Everything from beginning to end is like a real courtroom, and I personally consider each case as a trial." Catherine Garcia

1:00 p.m. ET
Saul Loeb/Getty Images

While many Americans tune in to Sunday night's Oscars ceremony, the Trump White House will host its first major social event: the 2017 Governors' Dinner. The black tie affair includes a receiving line, reception, and formal dinner with the First and Second Couples. It is timed to correspond with the National Governors Association's winter meeting in Washington each year.

"The Governors' Dinner is one of the most important social events held at the White House each year," said Laura Dowling, who was the chief White House floral designer for six of President Obama's eight years in office. "In terms of scope, style and planning requirements, it is just one step below a state dinner in organizational complexity."

The dinner is First Lady Melania Trump's first in her new role as White House hostess. "The first lady has put a lot of time into this event, welcoming our nation's governors to the capital," said White House Press Secretary of the evening's festivities. Bonnie Kristian

12:24 p.m. ET

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Sunday offered a dismissive assessment of President Trump's first month in office in conversation with ABC's George Stephanopoulos. "What has the Trump administration done?" she asked. "From their inaugural address, where they talked about decay and carnage, they've done nothing except put Wall Street first, make America sick again, instill fear in our immigration population in our country, and make sure Russia maintains its grip on our foreign policy."

"I call him the deflector-in-chief," Pelosi added. "He has no jobs bill, so he has got to talk about the press. He has no jobs bill, so he has to talk about kids, transgender kids in school. He has no jobs bill, so he has to talk about immigrants and have a ban on Muslims coming to country." Watch an excerpt of her comments below. Bonnie Kristian

See More Speed Reads