WASHINGTON – The campaign jab from Sen. Marco Rubio aimed at then-candidate Donald Trump felt so very 2016.
"And you know what they say about guys with small hands," the Florida senator and then-Republican presidential candidate said during a campaign stop. Rubio took a beat before adding: "You can't trust 'em!”
Rubio’s insult, which came up again during a presidential debate days later, made its way into an appeal to the Supreme Court – not from a peeved Trump seeking damages or a scandalized voter but rather in a trademark dispute from a man who wants to make a T-shirt emblazoned with the words “TRUMP TOO SMALL.”
The Supreme Court agreed Monday to decide the appeal from the Biden administration. That likely sets up oral arguments in the case in the fall and a decision next year.
In 2018, Steve Elster applied to register the phrase for use on a T-shirt, explaining that the words were meant to convey “that some features of President Trump and his policies are diminutive.”
But the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office rejected the proposal, noting that federal law prohibits a trademark that includes a name that identifies a living individual without that person’s written consent. But the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit backed Elster last year, holding that applying the law would restrict Elster’s freedom of speech under the First Amendment.
The Biden administration – concerned with defending the trademark office and not really the former president – appealed that decision to the Supreme Court in January.
Rubio's “small hands” insult made its way into a debate days later.
"Look at those hands," said Trump, holding out his hands for the audience.
“And he referred to my hands, if they are small, something else must be small,” Trump said. “I guarantee you there is no problem. I guarantee.”
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 'Trump too small.' A crude jab from 2016 arrives at Supreme Court