Rolling Stone reported on Sunday that there were at least two phone calls to a top Disney executive to demand action against Kimmel in 2018. Disney is the parent company of ABC, which airs “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”
One unnamed former senior Trump administration official told the magazine that Trump felt Kimmel was being “very dishonest and doing things that [Trump] would have once sued over.”
Another unnamed former official told Rolling Stone: “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.’”
Kimmel said last year that ABC officials at one point asked him to ease off Trump, but he refused.
“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,’” he told the “Naked Lunch” podcast.
It’s not clear if that conversation came as a result of the White House pressure campaign on Disney. ABC left Kimmel alone, and he continues to mock the former president to this day.
Trump, for his part, has long raged at comics making jokes about him, attacking Kimmel, “Saturday Night Live,” Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart and more.
The Daily Beast reported in 2021 that Trump during his presidency asked the Justice Department to investigate late night comics who made fun of him, and asked advisors if the Federal Communications Commission or courts could stop the jokes.