Pundit Called ‘Dummy’ by Trump Can’t Sue for Defamation

(CN) – GOP political commentator Cheri Jacobus cannot sue President Donald Trump for calling her a “dummy” on Twitter and portraying her as a spurned job seeker who criticized him only after she wasn’t hired as his communications director, a New York appeals court ruled Tuesday.

The New York Appellate Division’s First Department affirmed the dismissal of Jacobus’ claims that Trump and his former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski knowingly impugned her reputation in retaliation for her criticisms of Trump’s performance as a presidential candidate.

“The alleged defamatory statements are too vague, subjective, and lacking in precise to be actionable,” the appeals court’s unsigned opinion states. “The immediate context in which the statements were made would signal to the reasonable reader or listener that they were opinion and not fact.”

Jacobus said President Trump and Lewandowski took umbrage to her comment on CNN that Trump “comes off like a third grader faking his way through an oral report on current affairs.”

According to court records, in the wake of that statement, Lewandowski went on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program and dismissed Jacobus as someone who visited the Trump campaign office several times to try to get a job.

In her complaint, Jacobus confirms she did indeed meet with Lewandowski and another Trump staffer, Jim Dornan, at Trump Tower last year to discuss a job as campaign communications director, but decided against pursuing the position due to Lewandowski’s “boorish behavior.”

When she wasn’t hired, Lewandowski allegedly said, “Clearly she went off and was upset by that.”

Trump then launched a broadside of his own, tweeting “@cherijacobus begged us for a job. We said no and she went hostile. A real dummy!”

Jacobus had her lawyer send a cease-and-desist letter to Trump and Lewandowski, but the president-elect was unrepentant, tweeting, “Really dumb @CheriJacobus. Begged my people for a job. Turned her down twice and she went hostile. Major loser, zero credibility!”

Many of Trump’s followers responded with hostile tweets demeaning Jacobus and insulting her professional qualifications, she claims. One allegedly tweeted an image of her in a gas chamber with Trump standing by to push a button marked “gas.”

However, the New York appeals court said the president’s tweets did not amount to “actionable factual allegations that tended to disparage her in the way of her profession.”

Jacobus’ complaint sought $4 million for damages to her reputation.

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