One day after the last Republican presidential debate of 2015, on Wednesday, Jimmy Kimmel Live! hosted candidate Donald Trump.
Jimmy, who doesn’t usually touch on serious topics, went out of character for a moment and asked Trump about his call to ban all Muslim immigration to the United States.
“Did anyone try to talk you out of saying we should temporarily ban Muslims from entering the United States?” asked the comedian.
The GOP front-runner stood firmly by his plan — as he has repeatedly in interviews — and even claimed it had the support of Muslims.
“I have many, many friends who are Muslim, and they’re great people,” Trump said. “I will tell you some of them aren’t so thrilled with what I said, but many of them called me and they said, ‘You know, Donald, you’re right. We have a problem.'”
“But isn’t it un-American and wrong to discriminate against people based on their religion?” Jimmy Kimmel shot back, winning a round of applause from his audience.
“The people that are friends of mine that called, they said, ‘Donald, you’ve done us a tremendous service because we do have a problem,’,”, he said.
“Those may have been crank calls,” Kimmel retorted. “Did you check the caller ID?”
When the host pressed Trump to address the frequently posed argument that his reckless rhetoric could disenfranchise some Muslims and drive them to join ISIS, the real estate mogul replied, “I don’t buy it.”
Good on Kimmel for asking the question to Trump’s face! Jimmy Kimmel isn’t known as the most political guy, or even as a deep interviewer, so it’s somewhat surprising that he did it at all.
Trump nearly 20 minutes of time on television to spread his increasingly racist message. But, Kimmel got the ratings, and, as of noon, more than 100,000 YouTube views. The media needs Trump as much as Trump needs the media.
It’s a vicious cycle.
And, to be fair, Kimmel also gave Hillary Clinton more than 20 minutes of time on the show last month. At least, at that point, Kimmel wasn’t faced with the moral dilemma of giving time to a candidate commonly compared to a fascist.
“I would like to see the Republican Party come together, and I’ve been a little bit divisive in the sense of hitting people hard,” he admitted.