Jimmy Fallon responded to President Donald Trump’s Twitter swipe at the top of Monday’s “Tonight Show” monologue, explaining his decision to make a donation in Trump’s name to an immigrant advocacy group devoted to helping families affected by the administration’s extreme approach to undocumented immigration.
Trump on Sunday chided Fallon via Twitter for expressing regret about the September 2016 Trump appearance on “Tonight Show” during which Fallon tousled Trump’s hair. The interaction spurred a big backlash against Fallon for what some saw as a light-hearted “normalizing” of Trump’s out-of-the-mainstream policy agenda at a crucial point of the presidential campaign.
Fallon opened his Monday monologue by addressing Trump’s tweet head-on, according to a transcript distributed by NBC in advance of tonight’s 11:35 p.m. ET debut.
“As you may have heard, last night, the President of the United States went after me on Twitter,” Fallon says. “So Melania, if you’re watching, I don’t think your anti-bullying campaign is working.”
“When I saw that Trump insulted me on Twitter, I was gonna tweet back immediately, but I thought, ‘I have more important things to do.’ Then I thought, ‘Wait — shouldn’t HE have more important things to do?'”
Fallon flashed an image of Trump’s tweet, which cajoled him to “Be a man Jimmy!” He then explained his donation to the Texas-based nonprofit Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES) in response to the surge of outrage at the recent federal policy shift that calls for adult migrants to be separated from their children while in federal detention, with more than 2,000 children unaccounted for since the policy change took effect in the spring.
“It’s crazy. The president went after me on Twitter. It’s pretty much the only thing I have in common with NFL players,” Fallon said. “When Trump heard (about Fallon’s donation), he was like, ‘I love RAICES — they’re my favorite peanut butter cup.’ “
Fallon took a few other gentle jabs at Trump (“A new poll found that 58% of Americans think President Trump is intelligent. In response, Trump was like, ‘Ok, what did the other 58% say?'”) and then delivered a few non-Trump jokes to close the segment.
“And today at the White House, Trump met with the King and Queen of Jordan,” Fallon said. “Which got awkward when Trump thanked the King of Jordan for giving us Michael.”