Late night talk show host Jimmy Fallon has reflected on his divisive encounter with Donald Trump on the ‘Tonight Show’ last year, during which he ruffled the future president’s hair.

The Republican candidate pitched up on Fallon’s NBC show back in September last year, as the presidential election was heating up and liberals were becoming increasingly alarmed at Trump’s progress. During the interview, Fallon reached over to ruffle the would-be politician’s hair, and he swiftly received a backlash on social media for normalising and trivialising Trump after he had made several shocking policy statements.

Jimmy FallonJimmy Fallon got in hot water for ruffling Trump's hair in a September interview

Now, in a new interview for the New York Times, 42 year old Fallon has spoken about how he dealt with the reception to the incident, saying that he had intended “almost… to minimise him” by rustling his hair.

“They have a right to be mad,” Fallon reflected. “If I let anyone down, it hurt my feelings that they didn’t like it. I got it. I didn’t do it to humanize him, I almost did it to minimize him. I didn’t think that would be a compliment: ‘He did the thing that we all wanted to do’.”

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“I’m a people pleaser,” he said about why the reception to his actions upset him so much. “If there’s one bad thing on Twitter about me, it will make me upset. So, after this happened, I was devastated. I didn’t mean anything by it. I was just trying to have fun.”

However, Fallon does regret having not acknowledged the furore at the time on his show, choosing instead to let it blow over in its own time. “I didn’t talk about it, and I should have talked about it,” he says. “I regret that.”

Donald TrumpDonald Trump

On the other hand, ‘The Tonight Show’s executive producer Lorne Michaels said in the same piece that part of the reason they didn’t respond to the controversy was because, at the time, Trump wasn’t seriously being considered as the next American president.

“I don’t think anybody was focused on him winning, or that possibility,” Michaels said. “It had been absolute, bedrock certainty that Hillary Clinton was winning that election. There was no doubt, certainly in the news department in our building.”

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