Jimmy Fallon has been wildly successful since taking over The Tonight Show. He’s funny, clever, talented and can be quite endearing. So why would he bring on the Republican nominee Donald Trump who reeks with racism, sexism, xenophobia and hateful bigotry—and joke around with Trump like he was one of the guys, play with Trump’s hair, normalize hate-mongering, and then give Trump a personal enthusiastic standing ovation?
”Donald Trump, everybody! Donald Trump!”
Here is a clip of the scene tweeted by a gloating, grammar-challenged Trump supporter.
Jimmy Fallon and The Tonight Show just normalized everything that’s bad in this country. He gave Trump the opportunity to appear as a likable good sport, which he’s not, and some people who might not stay informed, saw a different Trump facade incongruent to his uglier side and deviant agenda. In doing so, Fallon, indirectly mocked and insulted the millions of people who Trump has attacked, belittled, insulted and incited violence against. The appearance also helped fan the fires of Trump fanatics who idolize the white supremacy Trump emotes, giving folks like the former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke more reason to support Trump. I don’t even want to talk about the influence this might have on some swing voters.
At first I thought the network probably pressured Fallon into having Trump on the show—but Fallon seemed to be enjoying himself too much towards the end. And that’s quite sad, because the talk show celebrity has a lot of fans who may have taken Fallon’s fanning over Trump as support for the Republican nominee.
Fallon is taking a beating for this move on social media. Like Matt Lauer who allowed Trump to blatantly lie without interruption on the Commander in Chief Forum, these talk show hosts are contributing to the possible election of a horrible man. Here are some Twitter reactions to last night’s show:
It’s not so much that Fallon had Trump on the show. Giving candidates equal time is to be expected. It was how Fallon treated a man so foul. It’s how Fallon lifted a man that provokes hate and incites violence as if he were a funny celebrity. Fallon could take cues from David Letterman who scorched and humorously called out Trump hypocrisy four years ago, and that was before Trump ran for president. As with the Matt Lauer interview, the damage is done and it can’t be walked back. Yes, I’ll watch Fallon again and I still like him. I don’t think he’s malicious and choose to believe he did not realize the level of damage he might cause. It also wasn’t as offensive as Lauer, but it’s still a damn shame. I’d love to find humor in this, but I can’t. These stakes are too high. Donald Trump actually becoming president—is no longer a joke.
Update: Leslie Salzillo ·
James Fallows with The Atlantic sums up Fallon’s performance pretty well:
“Effective 53 days from now, he may have a lot to answer for. Performances like the one he put on this evening with Donald Trump, including a “charming” mussing of the candidate’s famous hair, are a crucial part of the ‘normalizing” process of a candidate who is outside all historical norms for this office.’”
“One reason for Trump’s rise has been the effective merger of the entertainment and political-campaign industries. Jimmy Fallon accelerated that process tonight. He did so on the same day in which Trump put out a crazy economic plan and still refused to say that the incumbent (black) president was a ‘real’ American.”
(The Atlantic link came via Daily Kos user DaisiesArePretty)