CBS’ Les Moonves Walks Back Quip About Trump: ‘It Was a Joke! It Was a Joke!’

By Mark Joyella 

CBS chief executive Les Moonves would very much like to move on from the comment he made about Donald Trump in February. Speaking about the massive viewer interest in Trump’s presidential campaign at the time, Moonves said “it may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS.” He added “bring it on, Donald.”

And now, Moonves would like to bring it back. Speaking at the Vanity Fair New Establishment conference Wednesday, Moonves insisted “it was a joke! It was a joke,” reports Politico.

“It was early in the primaries and I was at a business conference … the early days of Trump, where no one imagined him being where he is today,” Moonves said, explaining his joke. “I meant there was going to be a lot of money in the marketplace. Ironically, because of Donald Trump not spending a lot of money [on campaign ads], more money has been spent on gubernatorial and local races.”


Adweek’s Lauren Johnson, covering the VF conference, reports Moonves also talked about the proposed re-merger of CBS and Viacom.