Seth Meyers announced his intent to ban Donald Trump from appearing as a Late Night guest Tuesday night, and now the presumptive Republican nominee for president has struck back.
“He has begged me to do the show for the last two years. I have told him emphatically ‘no,'” Trump said in a statement acquired by Variety. “I only like doing shows with good ratings, which as everybody knows, I only make better (by a lot).”
Meyers made the move one day after Trump revoked the press credentials for The Washington Post on his campaign.
“As for The Washington Post, we here at Late Night believe in freedom of the press and therefore have decided to stand in solidarity with them,” Meyers said. “So as long as The Washington Post is banned from Donald Trump’s campaign, Donald Trump will be banned from ever coming on this show.”
He followed up the announcement with a joke that seem to echo Trump’s intentions: “To be fair, he wasn’t coming on anyway. He had no interest in being here.”
Despite Trump’s implication that Late Night suffers in the ratings, by traditional metrics Late Night wins the 12:35 a.m. ET time slot in the TV year to date. The show has pulled an average of 1.58 million viewers and a .5 rating in the 18–49 demographic, besting The Late Late Show with James Corden and 30 minutes of Nightline on ABC.
Meyers also commented on Trump’s recent public statements in the wake of the mass shooting Sunday in Orlando that left 50 dead, including the gunman, claiming the 70-year-old reached a “new low.” Trump criticized President Barack Obama for his response to the Orlando attack — the largest mass shooting in U.S. history — saying “there’s something going on” because Obama did not explicitly mention “radical Islam” in his speech after the attack.
“When it comes to bigotry, Trump keeps upping his game,” Meyers said. “He’s like if Joseph McCarthy was exposed to gamma radiation and became a racist orange Hulk with tiny hands. Hulk mad, hands too small to smash.”
Late Night and the Trump campaign did not immediately respond to EW’s requests for comment.