Donald Trump and comedian Seth Meyers have a long history together, and it all began one fateful night in 2011. Meyers didn't do anything out of the ordinary, but his act seemed to have angered Trump. And even years after that night, it was still the reason why Trump wanted Seth Meyers to apologize to him.
In an interview for the Off Message podcast from Politico, Meyers told host Edward-Isaac Dovere that his 2011 appearance as host of the White House Correspondents' Dinner seemed to anger Trump. In 2015, Meyers told Politico, he had invited Trump for an interview on his show, Late Night. Trump initially seemed open to the idea, but then Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen showed up with one demand that Meyers would have to agree to before Trump would appear on the show: Meyers would have to apologize, on air, for making fun of Trump at the White House Correspondents' Dinner in 2011.
"Donald Trump has been saying that he will run for president as a Republican, which is surprising, since I just assumed he was running as a joke," Meyers said at the dinner seven years ago, to open his set of jokes about the now-president.
At that point, the video stream from the dinner showed Trump at his table, sitting stony-faced while the audience laughed around him — an image that continued to appear as Meyers continued in his set about Trump.
"Donald Trump often appears on Fox, which is ironic, because a fox often appears on Donald Trump's head," Meyers went on. "If you're at The Washington Post table with Trump and you can't finish your entree, don't worry, the fox will eat it."
As the set went on, Meyers kept on making fun of Trump, touching on his dedication to birtherism (Obama had only recently before the dinner released his birth certificate to prove his citizenship, which Trump had vehemently questioned) and numerous other moments in Trump's history that still come up today.
"Donald Trump said recently he has a great relationship with the blacks," Meyers said at one point. "Though unless the blacks are a family of white people, I bet he's mistaken."
Meyers ended the set doing an impression of Trump as the White House press secretary, which included the line "Kim Jong Il is a loser, his latest rally was a flop." This, of course, is not entirely dissimilar to how Trump has spoken about Kim Jong Un, Kim Jong Il's son and successor, now that Trump has become the president.
Meyers told Politico that four years later, in 2015, he refused Cohen's demand to apologize for making fun of Trump on air, and the conversation about Trump appearing on Late Night ended after that. Since then, Meyers has spent a lot of time using Trump's actions and statements to make fun of him — and zero time apologizing for it.
“[Trump] turned himself into an object of ridicule,” Meyers told Politico. “This is a case of judo, where you’re using someone else’s momentum against them. It’s not like we’re attacking. We’re just sort of like steering his weight and letting him take himself down.”
Meyers wasn't the only one to make fun of Trump that night in 2011. Obama famously did, too, and Meyers' and Obama's provocations together prompted many in the media to guess that this night was what truly catalyzed Trump's decision to run for president, The Washington Post wrote. Trump has denied that the jokes bothered him, according to The Post — but Meyers' tale would seem to prove otherwise. Only serious offenses merit an apology four years after the fact — and according to Meyers' side of the story, Trump thought that this was one.