It’s no secret that former President Donald Trump does not take kindly to criticism leveled at him, regardless of whether he is in office or not. A recent report highlighted the lengths to which his aides would go, to stifle any dissenting voices or criticisms.
What Happened: While in office, Trump was so upset with the late-night host Jimmy Kimmel’s comedic jabs aimed at him that he ordered his White House staff to call up a top Disney executive in early 2018 to demand action, according to a Rolling Stone report, citing former Trump officials.
Entertainment giant Disney owns ABC, which airs the Jimmy Kimmel Live! late night talk show.
The White House reportedly told Disney through two separate phone calls the “severity of his [Trump’s] fury” with Kimmel and asked the company to rein in the comedian. The former president felt that Kimmel had been “very dishonest and doing things that would have once been sued over,” the report said.
Other Trump administration officials, who had nothing to do with the pressure tactics that were applied to Disney, got to hear from their contacts at the company that they were confused about the White House’s unusual request to tone down Kimmel’s “anti-Trump humor,” Rolling Stone added.
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“I don’t know who[m], but it happened. Nobody thought it was going to change anything but DJT was focused on it, so we had to do something…It was doing something, mostly, to say to [Trump]’Hey, we did this,’” another former Trump official reportedly told Rolling Stone.
The report said one of the Disney officials who was pressured to act was Richard Bates, Disney’s former top lobbyist, who has since passed away.
Failed Attempt: The focused efforts of Trump officials at gagging Kimmel, however, fell flat, the report said.
The report also highlighted other attempts by Trump and his officials to silence late-night television shows and celebrities. Including an investigation by Ajit Pai, who was FCC Chairman under Trump, into Late Show host Stephen Colbert’s jab at Trump’s relationship with the Russian President Vladimir Putin.
In 2019, Trump reportedly asked his staff and attorneys to follow up with the FCC and the Justice Department over actions against late-night shows critical of him. This came after he was infuriated by jokes about him in a Saturday Night Live rerun.
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