UPDATED with video: “There came a point in my first guest’s life when he had to decide whether to buy the United States or become its president,” Jimmy Kimmel joked, introducing his guest, GOP frontrunner Donald Trump the night after the political debate in Las Vegas. Trump said he had “a great time” the previous evening, GOP debates having become, he boasted, “like the Super Bowl.”
“Last cycle, if you have a million, or two million it was like a big event. Frankly the networks didn’t want the debates. And then ‘something’ happened this cycle,” Trump simpered. “And Fox [News Channel] had 24 million [viewers] and CNN had the biggest audience in the history of CNN and last night got 18 million.” Those networks, Trump said, “should pay me – a lot!”
“It’s not like they run them commercial free,” Kimmel said, jumping on the bandwagon.
“They made a fortune,” Trump said. “They went from $4,000 for 30-seconds to $250,ooo.”
Kimmel noticed Trump seemed to be trying hard to be nicer to other candidates on the debate stage this time. Trump acknowledged he’d been “a bit divisive” and has “hit at” the other candidates in the past. But, sounding like a guy who’d had a long talk with RNC chief Reince Priebus about knocking off any thoughts of brokered-convention rannygazoo, he now insisted, “Really, I would like to see the Republican party come together” because, “ultimately we have to come together and get it done.” Trump insisted a lot of the debate bluster is for show, and the candidates are quite chummy during commercial breaks. “It’s about politics. It’s all talk,” he said.
“Do you think Ted Cruz is scared of you?” Kimmel wondered.
“Nah!” Trump said.
“I think he is,” Kimmel countered, then wondered if Jeb Bush was afraid of Trump.
Bush is having a “hard time” running because “he was supposed to be, because of the name, the odds-on favorite,” Trump speculated. Bush was the only candidate to exchange blows with Trump at the debate, calling him a “chaos candidate” and lobbing the line, “Donald, you are not going to be able to insult your way to the presidency” at the frontrunner. The needling got a reaction, with Trump snarling that he’s polling at more than 40% while Bush was at 3% which has caused him to be positioned further and further away from center stage with each debate, predicting Bush will soon fall off the edge.
“We do not need low energy,” Trump told Kimmel of Bush, but said Bush is a “nice guy.”
Kimmel revealed he’d ghost-written a children’s book for Trump, “Winners Aren’t Losers,” which he read, in its entirety. In part:
Winners aren’t losers. They’re winners like me.
A loser’s a loser. Which one will you be?
Winners do deals and winners get rich.
While sad little losers just sit there and bitch.
This lobster’s a loser. Throw him in the pot.
I like a lobster who doesn’t get caught.
Now, here are some frogs I do not like at all.
We must kick these frogs out and then build a wall.
Oh the places you’ll go, on your yacht and your plane.
With your suits from Milan and your wives from Ukraine.
Oh the buildings you’ll build, oh the wealth you’ll amass.
Oh the people around you all kissing your ass.
There are two kinds of people. Which one will you be?
A loser like them, or a winner like me?
Kimmel thanked Trump, who’d canceled on Kimmel’s ABC late-night show at the last minute in October, for “honoring your commitment to do this.” The late-night host had announced a few nights earlier he’d re-booked Trump to guest on the show. Fox News Channel anchors and GOP rivals may be at a loss as to how to handle Trump, but in October Kimmel knew exactly what to do when the former reality TV star canceled on him the night before Trump was supposed to appear as a guest during JKL’s week of broadcasts from Brooklyn.
“His people called last night and canceled on us. They were cryptic,” Kimmel said at the top of that night’s show. “They said he has a ‘major political commitment’… I’m dying to find out what this major political commitment was. Usually it means he had to go on CNN and call someone an idiot.”
“Why did he cancel?” Kimmel asked his EP, who was just off stage. “We told them there were cameras here, right? Are Tuesday nights the night he volunteers down at the orphanage?”