This is shocking only because we assumed Jimmy Fallon was a decent guy who wouldn’t think this way. It’s pretty sad that Fallon was disappointed when his effort to “minimize” Trump only made Trump seem more approachable and likeable. When this happened, Fallon was attacked mercilessly by the left for helping Trump look so good. He details below how he was “devastated” by the negative response. He should be devastated that he’s such a rotten guy to wish to “minimize” someone who is a guest on his show.
The ‘Tonight Show’ host opens up about the polarizing moment in his interview with the future president and how the backlash left him “devastated” and regretting not addressing it on his show.
Jimmy Fallon has opened up about his much-maligned playful interview with Donald Trump last fall, during which the Tonight Show host rumpled the future president’s hair.
Fallon’s behavior was swiftly criticized as normalizing a divisive candidate prone to making shocking statements and using hateful rhetoric.
Speaking to The New York Times in an extended profile, Fallon seems disappointed by the response to the incident and reveals he thinks he should have addressed the backlash on his show.
“They have a right to be mad,” Fallon says. “If I let anyone down, it hurt my feelings that they didn’t like it. I got it.”
“I didn’t do it to humanize him,” Fallon explains. “I almost did it to minimize him. I didn’t think that would be a compliment: ‘He did the thing that we all wanted to do.’”
The swift backlash once the interview aired, however, led Fallon to avoid Twitter and online news.
“I’m a people pleaser,” he tells the Times. “If there’s one bad thing on Twitter about me, it will make me upset. So, after this happened, I was devastated. I didn’t mean anything by it. I was just trying to have fun.”
Still, Fallon didn’t address the controversy on-air and acknowledges that he “should have.”
“I didn’t talk about it, and I should have talked about it,” he says. “I regret that.”
Tonight Show executive producer Lorne Michaels also offers that when Trump appeared on the show, he wasn’t seen as likely to win the 2016 election.
“I don’t think anybody was focused on him winning, or that possibility,” Michaels says. “It had been absolute, bedrock certainty that Hillary Clinton was winning that election. There was no doubt, certainly in the news department in our building.”
NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke tells The Times that he spoke with Fallon after the Trump incident and encouraged the host to press on.
Read more: HR