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Trump Goes After Late Night Hosts at South Carolina Rally

Variety logo Variety 6/26/2018 Ted Johnson

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(Video provided by TODAY)

President Trump went after late night hosts Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel and Stephen Colbert in a speech at a rally in Columbia, S.C., remarks that were heavy in celebrity references and attacks on the media and Democrats.

The rally was for South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster, but it was very much about Trump— brash and boastful.

“He looks like a lost soul,” Trump said of Fallon, the host of NBC’s “Tonight Show.” “But you know what he’s a nice guy. I agreed to do his show, and because I guess I was running at the time, he got tremendous ratings on that show. Killed everybody, right? He should be thankful. He shouldn’t be upset and angry.”

Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie © Provided by Variety “A year and a half, two years later, he is now apologizing because he humanized me,” Trump added. “And he really hurt himself.”

Fallon gave a recent interview to the Hollywood Reporter in which he expressed regret for Trump’s appearance on the show in October, 2016, in which he messed up the presidential candidate’s hair. Fallon was criticized for not directly challenging Trump and playing his appearance for laughs.

Trump got wind of the interview and tweeted on Sunday, “Jimmy Fallon 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,” the Tweet reads. “He called & said ‘monster ratings.’ Be a man Jimmy!”

Fallon responded that announcing that he had donated to a Texas non-profit, RAICES, which helps immigrant parents separated from their children at the border.

At the rally, Trump also called Stephen Colbert a “lowlife” and Jimmy Kimmel “terrible.”

“The guy on CBS, what a lowlife. Honestly, are these people funny? And I can laugh at myself. Frankly if I couldn’t I would be in big trouble. But they have not talent. They are not talented people. Johnny Carson was talented.”

He said that when he went to do Kimmel’s show during the 2016 campaign, “He would stand outside of the studio waiting for me….He’s standing out on Hollywood Boulevard, he’s standing there opening the door going, ohhh. I wasn’t president. I was like a guy. A guy with potential.”

Trump also said that he “made a fortune” for NBC with “The Apprentice,” but complained that the network now treats “me horribly.” “I think they are worse than CNN,” he said. NBC News is among the media outlets that Trump frequently targets. He contrasted his ratings to those of Arnold Schwarzenegger, who took over the show only to see it fizzle.

Trump has not appeared on any of the late-night talk shows since taking office, a contrast to President Barack Obama, who appeared on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” just months into his presidency, and followed that with appearances on most of the other late night shows.

Trump also noted something that David Lynch said — that he “could go down as one of the greatest presidents in history.” 

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