Trump accuses late-night TV hosts of 'dealing with the Democrats' and demands 'Equal Time'

Los Angeles Times Politics 12 months ago

In the latest salvo in his ongoing war with the entertainment industry, President Trump took to Twitter on Saturday morning to slam late-night talk show hosts in a pair of tweets for what he called their “unfunny & repetitive material,” complaining that they are “always anti-Trump” and accusing them of “dealing with Democrats.”

To counterbalance what he sees as “one-sided coverage,” Trump – whose administration has faced a continuous barrage of barbed jokes from the likes of Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon, Stephen Colbert and Seth Meyers on their shows and on social media – raised the question of whether he and other Republicans should be given equal time by the networks.

Trump seemed to be responding to a segment on the Fox News morning show “Fox & Friends” about how many late-night hosts “have taken a hard turn to the left.” In raising the issue of equal time, the president appeared to be referring to the Federal Communications Commission’s 1934 so-called equal time law, which requires radio and network TV stations to offer equivalent air time to legally qualified political candidates.

Kimmel – who has placed himself at the forefront of the healthcare debate this year during his ABC show’s monologues – offered his own rejoinder on Twitter to the president’s missives, writing, “Excellent point Mr. President! You should quit that boring job - I'll let you have my show ALL to yourself #MAGA

In turn, Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr. asked Kimmel on Twitter whether the host would use his platform to go after embattled movie mogul and longtime liberal lion Harvey Weinstein, who was the subject of a bombshell New York Times story last week detailing decades of sexual harassment, adding the hashtag “#askingforafriend.” Conservatives have used the Weinstein revelations to accuse Democrats who have benefited from his political donations of hypocrisy.

“You mean that big story from the failing, liberal, one-sided @nytimes?” Kimmel responded. “I think it is disgusting.”

“Great I look forward to your monologues next week,” wrote Trump Jr. “You're probably due for a change if only for a moment or two.” To which Kimmel responded, “Great! In the meantime, enjoy this!” – attaching a video clip of Trump’s infamous “Access Hollywood” tape.

Meanwhile, Meyers responded to Trump’s demand for equal time by tweeting with mock enthusiasm, “We’d love to have you! Studio located at 15 Penguin Avenue, Antarctica.”

With both sides undeniably benefiting from such spats – Trump by stoking his base’s ire toward what they see as the Hollywood elite, the late-night hosts by generating ratings and buzz – the feud is unlikely to end anytime soon, if ever.

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