Before the Republican front-runner for president took the stage on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” Wednesday night, the host was pulling no punches, characterizing billionaire Donald Trump as a bully and saying that at one point he had to decide “whether to buy the United States or just become our president.”
After playing a clip of Trump hounding Jeb Bush during Tuesday’s Republican debate, Kimmel added, “And then he took his lunch money and pulled his underwear up to his neck.”
But Trump was uncharacteristically subdued throughout the show, laughing and smiling as Kimmel read him a made-up Trump-inspired children’s book titled “Winners Aren’t Losers” and even striking a conciliatory tone toward his Republican opponents.
“I would like to see the Republican Party come together,” Trump told Kimmel. “I’ve been a little bit divisive in the sense that I’ve been hitting people pretty hard.”
“A little bit, yeah,” Kimmel dead-panned, to laughter in the audience.
Trump also couldn’t resist the opportunity to get in some barbs against Jeb Bush, his most frequent sparring partner during Tuesday’s debate.
“He’s having a hard time because … everyone thought he was the odds-on favorite,” Trump said of the former Florida governor, who took a more aggressive stance toward him Tuesday. “I said he’s a low-energy individual. We do not need, in this country, low energy.”
Kimmel, who skewered the billionaire in October after he canceled an appearance at the last minute, pressed Trump about his plan to temporarily ban entry of Muslims into the United States and his proposals on immigration.
For weeks, President Obama kept quiet as the Donald helped fuel “birther” conspiracy theories.
“He doesn’t have a birth certificate,” Trump told “Good Morning America” in spring 2011. “He may have one, but there is something on that birth certificate -- maybe religion, maybe it says he’s a Muslim, I don’t know. Maybe he doesn’t want that. Or, he may not have one.” Trump also told a tea party rally that Obama “almost certainly will go down as the worst president in the history of the United States.”
But Obama seemed to get the last laugh when, right after releasing his long-form birth certificate, he lampooned Trump at the White House correspondents’ dinner. “Now he can get to focusing on the issues that matter,” the president said. “Like, did we fake the moon landing? What really happened at Roswell? And where are Biggie and Tupac?” Zing!
But that didn’t quiet Trump. The Donald fired back during Obama’s 2012 presidential campaign with a “big announcement” goading Obama to release his college transcripts the October before the election so that he would donate $5 million to charity. Turns out the offer was one the president could easily refuse.
OK, so it doesn’t quite have the same ring to it as “Hello, Newman,” the greeting the fictional
Yet should one cross Trump, don’t expect a shrug and a handshake. Instead, Seinfeld received a rant after the comedian backed out of a charity benefit hosted by one of Trump’s sons, supposedly because of the birther issue. Seinfeld’s camp has been relatively quiet, but Trump was quoted as taking a swing at Seinfeld’s TV credits.
No, not the beloved “Seinfeld,” but instead the unscripted show
They exchanged barbed words in November 2010 over the project with Trump saying, “I like the developer, but it’s always very tough to make something successful at the high-end level with a public school in the building.” Gehry said that Trump was just holding a grudge ever since he turned down working on one of his projects, adding, “I don’t like his hairdo anyway.”
Touché, Frank. Touché. (Getty Images)
The pop star supposedly backed out of a Trump event due to a lingering battle with bronchitis. Yet the next day Rihanna performed in Los Angeles at the NBA All-Star Game. Trump wasn’t too hard on Rihanna, but he was quoted in the Palm Beach Post: “I thought [the cancellation] was insulting to everyone. But for Rihanna to go to the All-Star Game and perform after she told us she was sick, that is just a lack of respect.” (Getty Images)
It may have started when
“I’ll NEVER GO TO MACY’S AGAIN!” Cher tweeted. “I didn’t know they sold Donald Trump’s Line! If they don’t care that they sell products from a LOUDMOUTH.”
But Trump didn’t take the tirade sitting down, firing back about the singer’s surgical procedures.
“Cher-- I don’t wear a ‘rug'--it’s mine. And I promise not to talk about your massive plastic surgeries that didn’t work.” (Getty Images / Los Angeles Times)
“Isn’t it un-American and wrong to discriminate against people based on their religion?” Kimmel asked the audience, to more applause.
“We have people coming into our country that are looking to do tremendous harm,” Trump replied, citing the recent terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino. “These people did not come from Sweden, OK? … You can’t solve a problem until you’ve found out what’s the root cause.”
Trump insisted to Kimmel that “many” of his Muslim friends had called to thank him after he rolled out his policy statement about restricting Muslims’ entry.
“Those may have been crank calls,” Kimmel said, to plenty of laughter.
Asking Trump about his immigration proposals, including the building of a massive wall on the U.S. border with Mexico, Kimmel pointed out that Guillermo Rodriguez, his sidekick on the show and a minor TV celebrity, came to the United States illegally before going through the process to gain legal status.
“Don’t we want people who want to be here so badly that they will risk everything to be in America and to be an American? Aren’t those the people that we want in this country?” Kimmel asked.
Trump had a familiar retort, saying, “thousands of Hispanics” had worked for him over the years and calling them “unbelievable people.”
“What I’m saying is they have to come through a legal process. We’re going to have a big, beautiful door. We want people to come in; we want people to come in legally.”
Trump’s appearance comes two months after the candidate canceled an appearance on the show at the last minute.
At the time, Kimmel didn’t let Trump’s absence go unnoticed. “Why did he cancel? We told him there were cameras here, right?" Kimmel said to the audience. “Don’t worry,” he added, “tonight we’re gonna give everyone in the audience a basketball dipped in cologne so you can fully experience what it would have been like had Donald Trump been here.”
When Hillary Clinton appeared on the show last month, Kimmel asked the former first lady whether she would win in a hypothetical race against her husband and whether Clinton would be referred to as the “First Dude.”
Trump is no stranger to “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” or to being the butt of jokes on many of the late-night comedy shows.
A study released this week by the Center for Media and Public Affairs at George Mason University shows that Trump was the butt of 308 jokes by late-night comedians over a two-month period ending in October, more than the rest of the GOP field combined.
Hillary Clinton was a distant second to Trump in number of punchlines at her expense, with 107 jokes in that time period.
And, for anyone who’s worried, Kimmel’s zingers on Wednesday will be added to the total: “The joke totals will be updated throughout the 2016 Presidential Campaign,” the university assures.
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