Jimmy Fallon Regrets His Donald Trump Interview: ‘I Didn’t Think That Would Be a Compliment’

Jimmy Fallon faced a major backlash after he tousled Donald Trump’s hair in this September 2016 Tonight Show interview.

People took to social media to express their upset that Fallon didn’t bring up Trump’s xenophobic comments and instead joked around with the then-presidential candidate.

The late-night host is speaking out for the first time about the incident. In an interview with the New York Times, Fallon said, “I didn’t do it to humanize him. I almost did it to minimize him. I didn’t think that would be a compliment: ‘He did the thing that we all wanted to do.’”

Fallon admitted that all the hate he received from the interview was really hard on him.

He said, “I’m a people pleaser. If there’s one bad thing on Twitter about me, it will make me upset. So, after this happened, I was devastated. I didn’t mean anything by it. I was just trying to have fun.”

The Tonight Show’s ratings have recently taken a downturn compared with competitors. Stephen Colbert’s The Late Show gave CBS an edge with over 3 million nightly viewers. Fallon trailed with under 2.7 million.

Although that may not be entirely due to his Trump interview, Fallon wishes he had addressed the controversy earlier.

He said, “I didn’t talk about it, and I should have talked about it. I regret that.”

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