“If it’s 3 a.m., I don’t tweet about people who insult me,” President Obama told Jimmy Kimmel on Monday night, referring to the man who he can’t believe might still have a slim chance of succeeding him in the White House. But he has no problem reading those tweets aloud on late-night television.
For the second time in two years, Obama read some “mean tweets” about himself on Jimmy Kimmel Live, including one that called him “the Nickelback of presidents” and another that compared him to Sharknado: “Loud, stupid and over-hyped!”
But the inevitable kicker came when Obama read one from Donald Trump. “President Obama will go down as perhaps the worst president in the history of the United States!” Trump once wrote of the president. “Really? Well, @realDonaldTrump, at least I will go down as a president,” Obama replied.
Obama was officially the only guest of the night, but the show also featured an appearance in the cold open by Joel McHale, who got bumped for the president, and a surprise cameo in the monologue by Will Ferrell’s Harry Caray, who dropped in from the afterlife to celebrate the Chicago Cubs’ first World Series berth in 71 years. “Are you trying to kill me again?” he asked when Kimmel mentioned that Trump was the Republican nominee for president.
“When you watch the debate and you watch Donald Trump, do you ever actually laugh?” Kimmel asked the president earnestly. Without much hesitation, Obama replied, “Most of the time.” Obama also told Kimmel what it was like to watch the 2005 tape of Trump boasting about grabbing women “by the pussy” on someone’s phone while in Chicago. “I think that’s one of those things where if your best friend who worked in the office somewhere had that video, it would be a problem for him,” Obama said. “And he’s not running for president.”
Asked a similar question by Seth Meyers in December of last year, Hillary Clinton said of Trump, “I no longer think he’s funny,” adding, “I think for weeks, you know, you and everybody else were just bringing folks to hysterical laughter and all of that. Now he has gone way over the line, and what he’s saying now is not only shameful and wrong, it’s dangerous.” And that was before at least 11 accusations of sexual assault.
Kimmel wanted to know, does Obama ever wish he were the one campaigning against Trump? “I think Hillary’s doing just fine,” the president said. “I am enjoying campaigning on her behalf, and also campaigning for Senate and House candidates.”
“Look, we joke about Donald Trump,” he continued. “There is something qualitatively different about the way Trump has operated in the political sphere.” Calling John McCain and Mitt Romney “honorable men,” Obama said he would not have worried about the future of the country in the same way if they had beaten him as he would if Trump somehow manages to beat Clinton.
“Regardless of what your political preferences are and your policy preferences, there is a certain responsibility and expectation in terms of how you behave, how you present yourself,” Obama said. It went without saying that Trump does not meet those standards.
Kimmel also ragged on Obama a bit for deciding to stay in Washington, D.C., after he leaves office in January. “I’m like the old guy at the bar where you went to high school, just kind of hanging around, still thinks he’s cool,” Obama said, laughing at himself as he imagined people asking themselves, “When’s that guy leaving?”
He seemed relatively open to the idea of sticking around for a third term, were that an option, but said he’s thankful it’s not because Michelle would probably divorce him. “It’s useful that I don’t have that choice to make,” he said.