Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon addressed his feud with President Donald Trump during his Monday night monologue.
The president lashed out at Fallon earlier this week after Fallon discussed the grief he got for tousling Trump’s hair during an appearance at the height of the 2016 presidential election cycle, an act which prompted many to posit that Fallon was normalizing a man who’d given every indication that he would shatter the norms of the presidency.
“Be a man Jimmy!” Trump wrote yesterday after calling Fallon out for “whimpering.”
.@jimmyfallon is now whimpering to all that he did the famous “hair show” with me (where he seriously messed up my hair), & that he would have now done it differently because it is said to have “humanized” me-he is taking heat. He called & said “monster ratings.” Be a man Jimmy!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 25, 2018
“Before we begin, I just wanna give a shout out to our show’s number one fan: the president of the United States!” Fallon began. “As you may have heard, last night, the president of the United States went after me on Twitter. So Melania, if you’re watching, I don’t think your anti-bullying campaign is working.”
Fallon’s remarks referred to Melania Trump’s pledge to make cyberbullying one of the cornerstones of her tenure as First Lady. Many have noted the irony of Mrs. Trump’s initiative––or lack thereof––considering how often her husband has instigated online feuds himself, often with private citizens. Now that he is the president, Donald Trump’s tweets hold more power than ever before––he can sway financial markets and make world leaders worry. He can even attack television hosts.
“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,’” Fallon continued. “Then I thought, “Wait—shouldn’t he have more important things to do?’”
After pulling Trump’s tweet up on a screen for his audience to see, Fallon remarked, “That’s real. 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 added: “Well, in response, I made a donation in Trump’s name to the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services, or RAICES. When Trump heard, he was like, ‘I love RAICES – they’re my favorite peanut butter cup. There’s no wrong wait to eat a RAICES.”
He also took time to address the hair incident. A May 2017 profile on Fallon in The New York Times noted that he believed “that the Trump interview was a setback, if not quite a mistake, and he has absorbed at least a portion of the anger that was directed at him by critics and online detractors.” If nothing else, tonight’s monologue showed that Fallon could approach one of the darker periods of his career with humor: “This is two years ago. We always wanted to touch Trump’s hair…No one has any idea what is on the man’s head!”
Addressing the backlash he received, Fallon said, “It’s all in the fun of the show. I made a mistake. I’m sorry if I made anyone mad. And, looking back, I would do it differently.”
Fallon’s remarks were a far cry from the president’s own.
Speaking hundreds of miles away from The Tonight Show‘s stages at a fiery rally in South Carolina, the president took an opportunity to lambast Fallon.