Matt Lauer isn't offended by President Donald Trump's "fake news" brigade.
"He doesn't hate the media," the Today anchor flatly told Ellen DeGeneres, dismissing the president's waging war against the press. "It's something that he goes out and he says in front of a crowd of supporters and it gets a great reaction."
While visiting The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Thursday, Lauer had a candid conversation with the talk-show host about his experience with Trump through the years.
"He's one of the people I know who has over the years loved the media more than most people," he explained. Lauer believes Trump is simply launching his tirades because they play well: "It's just this kind of catchphrase. The 'fake news' and the 'fake media.' I think it's working for him, so he sticks with it."
Dating back to Trump's early days on The Apprentice, the fellow NBC host says he's interviewed Trump 30 to 40 times for the morning show.
"I've never known him to be a person who hates the media," Lauer reiterated.
When DeGeneres suggested Trump likely just hates the media that doesn't praise him, Lauer explained that he can't have it both ways - hence, a free press. "You can't just have a media where you only want them to say the things you want them to say," he said. "I think it's going to die down, I really do."
During Lauer's visit, he and DeGeneres reflected on the big year for both of them, as this marks Lauer's 20th year at the Today show and DeGeneres recently celebrated the 20-year anniversary of her landmark coming-out episode on Ellen. The talk-show host also continued the pair's prank wars by using a staffer, dressed as Savannah Guthrie, to scare Lauer during their chat.