WASHINGTON, D.C. - President Trump isn't done fighting the news media and its coverage of his administration, but on Saturday he fired the first shot in the war against another group that's been highly critical of his work as president - late night talk show hosts.
As is the case with many of Trump's early morning tweets, the president's message was sent following a segment on Fox & Friends that went after late night talk show hosts for taking "a hard turn to the left." It didn't take long for late night talk show hosts to respond to the president's criticism of their profession.
Seth Myers offered to have the president appear on his show, but told him to go to Antarctica.
Jimmy Kimmel offered to hand the reigns of his show over to Trump in exchange for his resignation as president.
That didn't sit well with Trump's son, Donald Trump Jr., who tried to criticize Kimmel for not talking about Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein paying off women who claimed he sexually harassed them.
Kimmel fired back by reminding Trump Jr. of his father's own history of sexual harassment and sexual assault claims by posting the now infamous Access Hollywood tape.
Trump, in calling for equal time, was likely referencing the Fairness Doctrine. That was an FCC regulation that required broadcasters to give equal amounts of time to candidates running for public office. The regulation was eliminated in 1987, but while it is no longer on the books, broadcasters generally stick to the idea behind the regulation to this day. Typically that means providing advertising time to opposing candidates at the same rate, but there was one instance in recent memory where candidates cried fowl against a network that provided free air time to a presidential candidate.
In November 2015, then-candidate Trump hosted an episode of Saturday Night Live on NBC. Many of his primary challengers thought it was unfair for Trump to receive such a large amount of air time on a popular television program, while they were left with nothing. Lindsey Graham, John Kasich, Mike Huckabee, and James Gilmore even got NBC to provide them with 12 minutes of free advertising time on 18 NBC affiliates in a number of battleground states to match the 12 minutes and 5 seconds that Trump appeared on-screen while hosting SNL.
Presidents can (and should) be able to take a joke
President Trump may like to pretend that late night hosts have it out for him, but he's hardly the first president to become the butt of jokes from late night talk show hosts. According to a study by George Mason University President Trump was the subject of 1,060 jokes from late night hosts during his first 100 days in office. That's only slightly more than President Obama (936 jokes) had during his first 100 days. Meanwhile, Presidents George W. Bush (546 jokes) and Bill Clinton (440 jokes) had far fewer jokes told about their first 100 days.
Obama, Bush, and Clinton never took offense to a little prodding by comedians, and in some instances they were actually in on the joke. So maybe it's time for Trump to take some notes from his predecessors, and at least learn how to take a joke.