Roseanne Barr had quite a day on Tuesday, with her top-rated sitcom being promptly canceled by ABC following an exceptionally nasty and racist tweet about former Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett.
And because, it appears, he simply cannot help himself, the president of the United States has weighed in on Twitter. Rather than criticize or defend Barr’s statements, or even comment on the statements at all, Trump elected, unsurprisingly, to make it all about him.
“Bob Iger of ABC called Valerie Jarrett to let her know that ‘ABC does not tolerate comments like those’ made by Roseanne Barr,” Trump tweeted. “Gee, he never called President Donald J. Trump to apologize for the HORRIBLE statements made and said about me on ABC. Maybe I just didn’t get the call?”
Trump has some of the details straight: Bob Iger, the CEO of Disney (which owns ABC, the network on which Roseanne was airing), did in fact call Jarrett before the cancellation announcement.
Bob Iger of ABC called Valerie Jarrett to let her know that “ABC does not tolerate comments like those” made by Roseanne Barr. Gee, he never called President Donald J. Trump to apologize for the HORRIBLE statements made and said about me on ABC. Maybe I just didn’t get the call?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 30, 2018
Tuesday night, Jarrett confirmed this account during an “Everyday Racism in America” town hall — which was, improbably enough, organized before Barr’s tweet and its fallout.
“He apologized,” Jarrett said regarding Iger’s call. “He said he had zero tolerance for that sort of racist, bigoted comment and he wanted me to know before he made it public that he was canceling his show. And so I appreciate that they did that so swiftly.”
But contra Trump’s tweet, Barr’s bigoted statement — which compared Jarrett, who is black, to simian characters from the Planet of the Apes series — was not made “on ABC.” It was made on Twitter. And Trump hasn’t been the target of racist statements from ABC, though he has made a habit throughout his presidency of deeming any news he finds unflattering to be “fake.”
Regardless, while Trump’s tweet wasn’t a surprise, it did contradict the statement that White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders made yesterday about the president’s interest in Barr’s situation. Barr has been a vocal supporter of Trump, and he has returned the favor, going so far as to call her in March to congratulate her on the show’s high ratings.
During a briefing, a reporter asked three times whether Trump was paying attention to the controversy; Sanders repeatedly insisted that he was very focused on other things.
“That’s not what the president is looking at. That’s not what he’s spending his time on,” Sanders said, citing trade rollout and North Korea as the targets of Trump’s focus.
“And,” she added, echoing the thoughts of many Americans, “I think we have a lot bigger things going on in the country right now.”
Her boss, it would seem, disagrees.