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Jimmy Kimmel has fired shots at Trump for years, but he says his fan base took the hit

Jimmy Kimmel in a tuxedo posing in front of a turquoise backdrop
Jimmy Kimmel pictured at the 74th Primetime Emmy Awards on Sept. 12, 2022, in Los Angeles.
(Richard Shotwell / Invision/Associated Press)
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Late-night host Jimmy Kimmel has made it clear he’s no fan of former President Donald Trump with years’ worth of monologues and skits on ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” But the comedian recently said he has faced consequences.

On the newest episode of Stitcher’s “Naked Lunch” podcast, Kimmel spoke to hosts David Wild and Phil Rosenthal about his views on President No. 45, and bringing those opinions to his late-night show.

“Does ABC ever say to you, ‘Hey, could you not just attack this side and lay off a little bit because we’re gonna lose those people?’” asked Rosenthal.

“Like right around the beginning of this whole like Trump thing ... that was kind of hinted at,” Kimmel said. “But I just said, ‘Listen, I get it. I mean, I don’t disagree.’”

Donald Trump made his first visit to California as president on Tuesday, and Jimmy Kimmel had plenty to say about the arrival of his top Twitter nemesis.

March 14, 2018

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Kimmel said that he “lost half of my fan [base], maybe more than that,” due to his coverage of Trump and recalled that he was “the most popular talk show host” among Republican viewers before the former “Apprentice” star took office. He said he knew where ABC’s concerns were coming from, but he stood his ground.

“I just said, ‘Listen, if that’s what you want to do, I understand and I don’t begrudge you for it, but I’m not going to do that,’” he told the podcast hosts. “‘So, you know, if you want somebody else to host the show, then that’s fine. That’s OK with me. I’m just not going to do it like that.’”

Kimmel said the network accepted his terms, adding, “They knew I was serious.”

Representatives for ABC did not immediately respond Thursday to The Times’ request for comment.

Rosenthal lauded Kimmel, and fellow late-night personalities Stephen Colbert and Seth Meyers, for doing “public service” by being the “guys who make us feel like we’re not alone.”

Kimmel started taking shots at Trump as early as 2015 when he and correspondent Guillermo mocked Trump’s foreign policy. And when Trump appeared on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” in May 2016, Kimmel poked fun at some of his controversial comments with a fake children’s book and critiqued Trump’s proposed Muslim ban.

“Isn’t it un-American and wrong to discriminate against people based on their religion?” he asked Trump.

When Jimmy Kimmel’s son, Billy, was born on April 21, the late-night talk show host’s elation was quickly overtaken by utter distress.

May 2, 2017

In 2017, Kimmel’s beef with the former president got personal. In an emotional monologue, he revealed that his newborn son was born with a condition that affected his heart. In light of his son’s diagnosis, Kimmel said children would be greatly affected by Trump’s proposed cuts to the National Health Institute. He then repeated his healthcare concerns in October 2020 ahead of the presidential election.

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Kimmel kept up his digs throughout Trump’s presidential term and after. Just on Tuesday, Kimmel blasted Trump for his support of rapper Kanye “Ye” West and for Trump’s potential testimony for the Jan. 6 hearings.

“Typically when Donald Trump takes an oath, that ends in divorce,” he said.

Kimmel told the “Naked Lunch” podcast that he believes Trump will be on the hook for the attack on the nation’s Capitol and that he “[wants] to be on the air when Donald Trump goes to jail.”

“I still believe it that justice triumphs in America — and I know there were a billion different examples to the contrary — but there just seemed to be too many different cases against him,” he said. “I mean, how can you commit this many crimes and be this unethical and be this, just this terrible, and get away with it?”

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