President Trump on Wednesday accused hosts of late-night talk shows of “one-sided hatred” directed at him, seizing on comments this week by former “Tonight Show” host Jay Leno that the job has become more difficult in the Trump era.
In a morning tweet, the president also called the shows “unwatchable” and “very boring.”
He cited an interview Tuesday on NBC’s “Today” show in which Leno said he doesn’t miss hosting a late-night show because these days “everyone has to know your politics.”
Leno, who hosted his last episode in 2014, said he liked the model of his long-running “Tonight Show” predecessor, Johnny Carson.
“People couldn’t figure out,” Leno said. “ ‘Well, you and your Republican friends’ or ‘Well, Mr. Leno, you and your Democratic buddies.’ And I would get hate mail from both sides equally.”
“But when people see you as one-sided, it just makes it tough,” Leno continued. “Now it’s all very serious. I’d just like to see a bit of civility come back to it, you know?”
Leno also said it’s more difficult for hosts to deliver jokes about Trump.
“People say, ‘Oh, it must be easy to do jokes with Trump,’ ” he said. “No, it’s actually harder, because the punchline of the joke used to be, ‘That’s like the president with a porn star.’ Well, now the president is with a porn star. Where do you go with that? How do you get more outrageous than that?”
Leno was referring to an alleged a sexual encounter that Trump had with adult-film star Stormy Daniels more a decade earlier that he has denied. Daniels was paid hush money during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Trump has lashed out at other comedy directed at him, including on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” which he called “very unfair” in a tweet last month.
“Question is, how do the Networks get away with these total Republican hit jobs without retribution?” he wrote.