Political News

Trump Rings Up Roseanne Barr After Her Show Is a Ratings Winner

Posted March 28, 2018 11:57 p.m. EDT

President Donald Trump made a personal phone call on Wednesday to a political supporter with a huge megaphone — Roseanne Barr.

Trump called Barr to congratulate her on the revival of her comedy, “Roseanne,” broadcast Tuesday evening on ABC, said Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary.

The president, an obsessive about how TV shows perform, was enthralled by the “huge” ratings “Roseanne” had received, said a person familiar with the call. The show’s first episode averaged 18.2 million viewers.

“Roseanne,” featuring a working-class family of five and assorted relatives, returned to the air this week more than two decades after it ended its run. The lead actress’ character plays a backer of Trump. (Roseanne’s TV sister, Jackie Harris, by contrast, supports Hillary Clinton.)

Barr herself has been a vocal defender of Trump.

In an interview with The New York Times published Tuesday, Barr said she decided to turn her character, Roseanne Conner, into a Trump supporter because she felt it was an “accurate portrayal” of the political preferences of many working-class Americans.

“I just wanted to have that dialogue about families torn apart by the election and their political differences of opinion and how we handle it,” she said. “I thought that this was an important thing to say at this time.”

Barr defended the president at several points in the interview, objecting to a suggestion that he opposes many of the views that she and Roseanne Conner have espoused over the years, like support for abortion rights, same-sex marriage and organized labor.

Trump used to back abortion rights before running for president as a Republican, but he has never supported same-sex marriage.

“I think he voices them quite well,” she said of the stances that the president shares with her — and her character. She insisted that Trump favored same-sex marriage, even though he has never endorsed its legalization.

“He has said it several times, you know, that he’s not homophobic at all,” she said.

Barr did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Wednesday night.