Hillary Clinton’s Appearance on ‘Fallon’ Earns Better Ratings Than His Lambasted Trump Interview


Jimmy Fallon bracketed his weekend in interviews with presidential nominees — the first, infamously, was his interview last Thursday night with Donald Trump, in which Fallon sacrificed the opportunity to criticize and challenge Trump in order to, rather, ruffle his hair. Last night, he gave his anticipated follow-up to that mess — an interview with Hillary Clinton, and I guess at least he didn’t pull a Matt Lauer (the Today Show host pressed Clinton on her email scandal and rushed past policy and went easy on Trump in a recent forum); Fallon, it can be said, struck a balance of being goofily innocuous with both candidates (despite the fact that, of course, there’s nothing innocuous about being innocuous with Trump) and even laudatory towards Hillary.

And it seems like perhaps people are tired of the media’s Trump over-saturation, because despite the attention devoted to the candidate’s sensationalist approach, Deadline reports that it was actually Clinton’s appearance on the Tonight Show that garnered more viewers, with a 2.8 rating in metered-market households, while Trump’s interview received a 2.6. (The publication also does note that Clinton’s interview came directly after NBC’s primetime openings, while Trump appeared on a night full of reruns.)

Last night, Fallon gave Clinton a lighthearted jab upon her entrance (actually more seeming to make fun of right wingers who blew her recent diagnosis with pneumonia totally out of proportion), donning a surgical mask and rubbing antibacterial soap on his hands — which Clinton returned with a high five. “I took a few days… and got a chance to reflect on this crazy campaign that we’re involved in and decided that I’m going to talk about what I think needs to happen to help people, and stay away from the negative insult stuff that goes back and forth,” Hillary said of her previous momentary break from campaigning to focus on her health. “I feel really good about that — because this is a really consequential election…just in case you were wondering.”

She also, at one point, jabbed Fallon for his interview with her competitor, presenting him with a bag of softballs from “Trump”:

Fallon also spoke to Clinton about whether she used to dream of being President as a little girl, and Clinton emphasized that she couldn’t, because it was outside the “realm of the possible” at the time, and said that “we’ve slowly but steadily knocked down the barriers.”

“Some people are not happy about the barriers being knocked down,” she continued. “Your former guest, Donald Trump, has refused to actually admit that President Obama is an American born in America — and for five years he’s been hammering in this so-called birther movement… and then he went after a distinguished federal judge because he was born in Indiana of Mexican heritage… he went after the gold star family — whose son was heroically lost in Iraq — because they’re Muslims. You have to take a deep breath and say to yourself, ‘What kind of country do we really want?’ And I want a country where barriers are knocked down, and little girls and little boys can feel like they can go as far as their hard work will take them without regard to race and ethnicity and religion and gender and sexual orientation.”

Granted, Clinton didn’t really talk about policy specifics at all — but it all sounded good in the abstract, which certainly cannot be said for her competitor.

Here’s the pneumonia-oriented segment:

Here’s Clinton on barriers:

Here’s Clinton on gendered perception: