When the Waffle House Hero, James Shaw Jr., earned national acclaim for saving a bunch of lives with his bare hands, Donald Trump let three weeks pass before calling him. In two years, Trump has never once publicly acknowledged Pride month. But when one of his more vocal supporters, Roseanne Barr, had a hit debut with her rebooted TV show, Trump called to congratulate her the following morning. By now, the president has made his priorities clear. And yet it still remains a jarring surprise to see amidst the swirling chaos of his personal Twitter feed a snarky dig at talk show host Jimmy Fallon.
.@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
The tweet is a reference to an interview Jimmy Fallon gave to The Hollywood Reporter last week, in which he expressed deep regret over the way he handled Trump’s appearance as a Tonight Show guest in 2016. Fallon’s infamous hair-jostling interview with the then candidate, which happened less than two months before the election and was widely derided at the time, later came to define the host in an unflattering way. Fallon crystallized his reputation as the apolitical good-time party host at the precise moment that America was about to become an all-hands-on-deck emergency where even talk show hosts are needed to sound the alarm that our country is in crisis.
Of all the things a celebrity might do to force Trump’s tweeting hand, though, this instance seems relatively tame. It’s not exactly posing with a fake severed Trump head or even shouting “Fuck Trump” at the Tony’s. Instead, it was one man’s perfectly reasonable regret. A normal person would let it go. A normal president would find the idea of responding at all way beyond ridiculous. But not Trump. There is no act of pettiness or Real Housewives-style diva-ry to0 small to engage him. The only question was: How would Jimmy Fallon respond? As it turns out, he would respond like a mensch.
In honor of the President’s tweet I’ll be making a donation to RAICES in his name.
— jimmy fallon (@jimmyfallon) June 25, 2018
RAICES is the Facebook-viral charity that aims to reunite immigrant families separated at the border. By donating money to this cause rather than engage at all with the substance of Trump’s tweet, Fallon gets to comment on the absurdity of a president being concerned with a talk show host’s whimsy while so many families remain separated, without actually commenting on it. Looks like the apolitical good-time party host may be finally adjusting to the new normal.
UPDATE: On Monday night’s episode of The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, the host addressed the issue further, asking a great question of the president: “Why are you tweeting at me?”
Watch the full video of his monologue below.