NEW YORK — ABC late-night comic Jimmy Kimmel is trying to de-escalate a feud with Fox News host Sean Hannity that began over a joke about first lady Melania Trump's accent.
Kimmel said in a Twitter post made Sunday that his exchanges with Hannity were fun but he didn't want to add to the "vitriol" of their spat, which included Hannity calling Kimmel a "sick, twisted, creepy, perverted weirdo" during his Fox show on Friday.
Kimmel said such animosity is "harmful to our country" and he wanted to apologize "to those who took offense."
He also said President Donald Trump's wife had enough to worry about "without being used as a prop to increase TV ratings."
On ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live" on April 2, Kimmel prodded the first lady's reading of a children's book at the White House Easter egg hunt. He mocked the accent of the first lady, who was born in Slovenia.
"Dees and dat," Kimmel repeated, with a laugh.
Hannity, cable television's most fervent supporter of the Republican president, took exception, and he and Kimmel exchanged barbs through the week.
Hannity's initial attack on Kimmel, calling him an "ass clown," was enthusiastically countered by Kimmel, who said Hannity was the "whole ass circus."
"Game on," Hannity said on Friday.
He rolled a series of Kimmel clips, mostly from the comedian's days as a co-host of Comedy Central's "The Man Show," that featured segments showing Kimmel with an exaggerated fake erection, asking women to find something hidden in his pants and going up to random women in the street asking if they wanted to have sex with him.
Kimmel thanked Hannity for the trip down memory lane but said the idea that Hannity would call anyone a pervert while he was "slobbering over" Donald Trump is, "to quote a fella you love very much, 'sad.'" Trump boasted on a 2005 "Access Hollywood" tape about fame enabling him to grope and try to have sex with women, and he later apologized.
Kimmel, in his Twitter message, said he hopes Hannity will "continue his newly-found advocacy for women, immigrants and First Ladies."
Hannity said he'd address Kimmel's statement on his Monday show.