- The Washington Times - Monday, February 27, 2023

Donald Trump was so upset by the jokes late-night host Jimmy Kimmel made about him while he was in office that he reached out to parent company Disney about it, according to a report.

One former senior official within the Trump administration told Rolling Stone that Mr. Trump felt in 2018 that the comedian was being “very dishonest and doing things that [Trump] would have once sued over.”

The former president became fixated on addressing Mr. Kimmel’s schtick to the point that at least two calls were made to Disney, according to sources who spoke with Rolling Stone.

“I do not know to whom, but it happened,” an unnamed source told the magazine. “Nobody thought it was going to change anything but [Trump] was focused on it so we had to do something … It was doing something, mostly, to say to [Trump], ‘Hey, we did this.’”

Some of Mr. Trump’s complaints about Mr. Kimmel were conveyed to Richard Bates, the former top lobbyist for Disney who died in December 2020.

Mr. Kimmel, for his part, talked about how ABC executives did tell him to ease up on targeting Mr. Trump. The comedian said he contemplated quitting the show if they were serious about the request.

“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. 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,’” he said on the “Naked Lunch” podcast in November.

Mr. Trump’s interest in using his executive powers to target late-night hosts has been well documented.

In 2018, Federal Communications Commission Chair Ajit Pai said late-night comedian Stephen Colbert would be investigated over a joke he made about the former president and his connections to Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to Rolling Stone. However, the investigation never took place.

Mr. Trump also asked his advisers if the Justice Department or FCC could probe Mr. Kimmel and “Saturday Night Live,” according to the Daily Beast.

• Matt Delaney can be reached at mdelaney@washingtontimes.com.

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