WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump weighed in Wednesday on the cancellation of Roseanne Barr’s television show over the comedian’s racist tweet, using Twitter himself to take aim at Disney CEO Bob Iger.
Trump, who has praised Barr for her support of him, directed a tweet at Iger, who heads the parent company of ABC, criticizing him for issuing an apology to Valerie Jarrett, who was a top aide to former President Barack Obama. Late Monday, Barr wrote referring to Jarrett, who is black, that “muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj,” a tweet that has since been deleted.
“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?” Trump tweeted Wednesday.
Trump’s tweet came a day after White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters that the president was “extremely focused” on other matters and would not weigh in on Barr’s remarks and ABC’s decision to cancel her rebooted sitcom.
On Wednesday, Sanders said the president in his tweet was “simply calling out the media bias,” and not “defending what she [Barr] said.”
Sanders ticked off a list of grievances with other Disney-affiliated TV personalities, including Jemele Hill, an ESPN anchor who once called Trump a white supremacist in a tweet, and “The View” co-host Joy Behar, who once mocked Vice President Mike Pence’s Christian faith.
Hill was suspended by the company last October for her tweets, and Behar issued an on-air apology and personally called Pence to apologize.
Barr, on Twitter, apologized Tuesday for her post about Jarrett, which was met with widespread condemnation — including from Barr’s co-stars.
On Wednesday, Barr blamed the incendiary tweet on her use of Ambien, a sleep aid.
“Guys I did something unforgivable so do not defend me. It was 2 in the morning and I was ambien tweeting — it was memorial day too — i went 2 far & do not want it defended — it was egregious Indefensible. I made a mistake I wish I hadn’t but . . . don’t defend it please,” Barr tweeted Wednesday.
Sanofi, the maker of Ambien, responded with a statement noting: “While all pharmaceutical treatments have side effects, racism is not a known side effect of any Sanofi medication.”
Jarrett, speaking on MSNBC on Tuesday, said the moment should be used as teaching moment.
“Tone does start at the top, and we like to look up to our president and feel as though he reflects the values of our country,” Jarrett said. “But I also think that every individual citizen has a responsibility too, and it’s up to all of us to push back. Our government is only going to be as good as we make it be.”