This weekend, Jimmy Fallon drew fire from the President of the United States for comments he made to The Hollywood Reporter earlier in the week. The publication interviewed Fallon for their “Awards Chatter” podcast and the late night host shared his regret for a now-infamous moment that happened on his show in 2016.
A few months before the 2016 American election that rocked the world, Donald Trump appeared on Fallon’s show for a lighthearted conversation that received harsh criticism from Trump opponents. Being a member of the “Liberal Hollywood Elite,” many assumed that Fallon would take the opportunity to do a real interview with the presidential candidate and call out the bigotry and hatred he so often spouted in rallies and debates. Not so. Instead, Fallon asked a few softball questions, did his best Donald impression and then good-naturedly ruffled his iconic hair.
Funny? Yes. The way you should approach an interview with a presidential candidate whose proposed policies would most certainly harm millions of people? Not at all.
After the interview, Fallon was lambasted for his endearing and humanizing approach to Donald Trump. Like many others, Fallon had bought into the idea that there was no way the reality TV businessman could win the election and therefore didn’t need to be taken seriously. He was wrong. And he knows it.
Fallon told The Hollywood Reporter that it was one of the worst moves of his career and explained he didn’t do it to “normalize him.” He also described how hard the following criticism hit him and his staff.
“It was definitely a down time and it’s tough for morale,” he said, “There’s 300 people that work here and so people talking that bad about you and ganging up on you in a really gang-mentality — it was insane.
“People you wouldn’t expect,” he continued, “You go, ‘Alright, we get it. I heard you. You made me feel bad. So now what? Are you happy? I’m depressed. Do you want to push me more? What do you want me to do? Do you want me to kill myself? What would make you happy? Get over it.'”
President Trump criticized Jimmy Fallon after the late-night host spoke out about the backlash to the 2016 interview in which Fallon tussled then-candidate Trump’s hair. https://t.co/ld8jQrfRbN
— Early Start (@EarlyStart) June 25, 2018
Since it’s 2018 and apparently the president has decided attacking Jimmy Fallon is a better use of his time than, say, visiting the thousands of children in detention centers around the U.S., Donald Trump addressed the interview on Twitter Sunday. He told Fallon to “be a man” and pointed out that the comedian “seriously messed up” his hair. It would seem DJT is still a little sore about the event.
.@jimmyfallon is now whimpering to all that he did the famous “hair show” with me (where he seriously messed up my hair), & that he would have now done it differently because it is said to have “humanized” me-he is taking heat. He called & said “monster ratings.” Be a man Jimmy!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 25, 2018
Fallon — who normally steers away, if not totally clear, of politics — took this rare second chance to do what he should have done in 2016 — take Trump to task for his damaging policies. The host tweeted a few hours later that he would be making a donation to RAICES in Donald Trump’s name. The Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services is a non-profit agency that provides free and low-cost legal services to immigrant children, families and refugees.
In honor of the President’s tweet I’ll be making a donation to RAICES in his name.
— jimmy fallon (@jimmyfallon) June 25, 2018
As of Monday afternoon, the president hasn’t yet fired back at Fallon for his latest statement but the drama likely isn’t over. We can’t imagine Fallon ignoring the weekend’s events in his Monday night monologue and we all know how much TV the president watches . . . and then subsequently tweets about. Stay tuned.