Kimmel admitted during a recent podcast interview that ABC News executives “hinted” that he should tone down his rhetoric about Trump and the GOP “around the beginning of this whole Trump thing.”
“I just said, ‘If that’s what you want to do, I understand and I don’t begrudge you for it. But I’m not going to do that. If you want someone else to host the show, then that’s fine. That’s OK with me. I”m just not gonna do it like that.’”
He then admitted that the executives were “right” to be a bit concerned, since he ended up losing half his audience.
“I just said, ‘Listen, I get it — I don’t disagree, I mean, you’re right,’” he recalled telling them. “I have lost half of my fanbase, maybe more,” he said, citing research that found his late night show was the most popular among Republican viewers.
But Kimmel said he doesn’t regret anything, saying he “couldn’t live with myself” if he didn’t make his feelings about Trump known.
“I want to be on the air when Donald Trump goes to jail,” he said. “I very much want that. I think I would be heartbroken if I was not a part of that.”
After podcast co-host Phil Rosenthal joked that Kimmel was doing the country a “public service” by targeting Trump, Kimmel said: “I love this country, too.”
“That flag doesn’t belong to them. And when I see somebody coming in and ruining it, I’m gonna say something about it. That’s it. It’s as simple as that,” he added.
Kimmel also took the opportunity to praise President Joe Biden.
“Joe Biden — look, whatever you think about him, he’s a decent human being,” he said.
“He’s a nice old man who quite plainly cared about people through[out] his whole life. He’s certainly not evil. If you believe that, you’ve got some real problems.”