So, Marco Rubio just went after Donald Trump, riffing off of an old attack from over 25 years ago that referred to the Manhattan businessman as a “short-fingered vulgarian.” Except the punchline to the joke now is that Trump can’t be trusted:
Rubio says Trump has small hands for how tall he is "and you know what they say about men with small hands…you can't trust em!"
— Alexandra Jaffe (@ajjaffe) February 29, 2016
Rubio just mocked Trump's stubby fingers. "You know what they say about men w/ small hands…"
"…you can't trust em."
— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) February 29, 2016
So Marco Rubio has just gone after Trump's spray tan and small hands…"You know what they say about men with small hands"
— Fenit Nirappil (@FenitN) February 29, 2016
Rubio: Donald's hands are the size of someone who's 5'2" & you know what they say of a man who has small hands? You can't trust 'em
— Benny Polatseck (@BPolatseck) February 29, 2016
Apparently, this insult — which originated with Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter when he was with Spy magazine — is something that still drives Trump crazy. Matt Labash wrote about it for the Weekly Standard earlier this month:
In an exhaustive survey of the late Spy‘s archive, Bloomberg’s Andre Tartar found that Spy mentioned Trump an average of 8.7 times per issue in its first 50 issues. What they called him wasn’t pretty: a well-fed condo hustler, an ugly cuff-link buff, a close-friend-free millionaire, a Forbes 400 dropout. The most frequent and hurtful insult of all was “short-fingered vulgarian.”
Trump, for his part, took the bait at least once, declaring to the New York Post‘s Page Six, “My fingers are long and beautiful, as, has been well-documented, are various other parts of my body.” But the sobriquet stung the thin-skinned Trump badly enough that Graydon Carter, Spy‘s cofounder and the current editor of Vanity Fair, writes that to this day, he occasionally receives an envelope from Trump, “generally a tear sheet from a magazine. On all of them, he has circled his hand in gold Sharpie in a valiant effort to highlight the length of his fingers. I almost feel sorry for the poor fellow because, to me, the fingers still look abnormally stubby.”
Calling Trump a “short-fingered vulgarian” was something anti-Trump folks did on Twitter, but this is the first time (we think) that a GOP rival has used it on the stump.