Trump weighs in on Jimmy Kimmel Oscars row

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While the 96th Academy Awards ended a week ago, an ongoing back and forth between this year’s host and a certain former president is yet to die down.

This weekend, Donald Trump spoke out about his spat with Jimmy Kimmel in an interview with Fox News’ MediaBuzz, saying that the late-night show host is “even dumber than I thought”.

Mr Kimmel often fills segments of his late-night show Jimmy Kimmel Live with criticism and mockery of Mr Trump.

But the war of words ramped up during last week’s Oscars ceremony when Mr Trump took to Truth Social to lambast Mr Kimmel’s hosting skills.

“Has there EVER been a WORSE HOST than Jimmy Kimmel at The Oscars. His opening was that of a less than average person trying too hard to be something which he is not, and never can be. Get rid of Kimmel and perhaps replace him with another washed up, but cheap, ABC “talent,” George Slopanopoulos. He would make everybody on stage look bigger, stronger, and more glamorous,” Mr Trump wrote.

Mr Kimmel responded by reading out the post on stage, before sparking laughter from the star-studded audience by asking: “Isn’t it past your jail time?”

Mr Kimmel later said that he wasn’t planning to mention Mr Trump at all throughout the ceremony, but a writer showed him the post in between his time on stage.

Speaking to Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos immediately after the ceremony on their Live TV special, Mr Kimmel said members of the production team had tried to discourage him from reading out Mr Trump’s post.

“They’re like, ‘You’ve got a little bit of time’ and I was like, ‘I’m reading the Trump tweet,’ and they’re like, ‘No, no, don’t read that,’” Mr Kimmel said with a laugh. “[I was like] ‘Yes I am.’”

On Sunday’s Fox News interview, Mr Trump ridiculed Mr Kimmel saying that the host actually sent his comments “viral” by reading them out.

“I said, ‘This guy’s even dumber than I thought.’ The thing went viral, it’s been all over the world now, and all he had to do is keep his mouth shut,” he said.

“Jimmy Kimmel is – every night, he hits me I guess, his ratings are terrible.

“He’s not a talented guy. I hear he hits me all the time, so I figured I’d hit him because I thought he was a lousy host.”

Donald Trump at a campaign rally in March 2023 (left) and Jimmy Kimmel at the Oscars (right) (Getty Images)
Donald Trump at a campaign rally in March 2023 (left) and Jimmy Kimmel at the Oscars (right) (Getty Images)

Mr Trump appeared to relish his own choice of words, particularly his play on ABC host George Stephanopoulos’ name.

“I said some other pretty good things,” he said, adding that when he posted it on Truth Social – which he claimed is “on fire by the the way” – he said he “never expected he was going to be reading it”.

“And now the big story is that they all begged him not to do it. ‘Don’t do it.’ He probably – stupidly, you know – had to act in a short period of time, like minutes, right?” he continued.

“He had minutes because he’s on air, he sees this thing, and he wants to go out there, and he wants to, I guess, confront me and so and he ends up reading my Truth.”

Mr Kimmel has also spoken out about his Oscars row with Mr Trump on his late-night show last week, recalling how people ran up to him after his bit asking if the Truth Social post was real.

“Of course, it was real and it kind of tells you all you need to know about Donald Trump,” Kimmel said.

“He wrote this because he was upset I didn’t mention him on the show, and no one mentioned him on the show; he wasn’t getting any attention, he couldn’t stand it!”