MSNBC's O'Donnell: 'I would love for the president to attack me' instead of CNN because 'it's good for business'

MSNBC's O'Donnell: 'I would love for the president to attack me' instead of CNN because 'it's good for business'
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MSNBC host Lawrence O'Donnell said Monday that he would prefer that President TrumpDonald John TrumpAvenatti ‘still considering’ presidential run despite domestic violence arrest Mulvaney positioning himself to be Commerce Secretary: report Kasich: Wouldn’t want presidential run to ‘diminish my voice’ MORE directed criticism at him instead of CNN, noting that negative attention from Trump is "very, very good for business." 

"It's very, very good for business if the president attacks you," O'Donnell told Cheddar, a livestreaming channel that focuses on financial and political news.

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"I would love the president to attack me right now," O'Donnell, a former writer and producer of the NBC political drama "The West Wing," said. "I actually think he attacks CNN as frequently as he does because MSNBC is much higher rated."

The perspective comes as Trump continually refers to CNN as "fake news" in tweets, while "CNN sucks" is chanted by supporters at his rallies.

As O'Donnell also notes, the president almost never goes after MSNBC, instead largely focusing on CNN, NBC News, The New York Times and The Washington Post.

"You'll notice: He never says the letters M-S-N-B-C. We have a much bigger audience than CNN. And he would prefer people to watch CNN, because on CNN, they pay people to defend Donald Trump," he continued. "They pay Washington lobbyists like [former Sen.] Rick Santorum, whose job it is to do business with the Trump administration. They pay him to go on CNN and defend the president of the United States."

O'Donnell also touched on his rival in the 10 p.m. time slot, "CNN Tonight" anchor Don Lemon, opining that the president attacks Lemon personally because Trump supporters appear in debate segments on his show.

"That's why he'll attack Don Lemon instead and he'll never attack me, because Don is on in my time slot," O'Donnell argued. "He'd rather have you watch a show, where, yes, you're going to have to put up with Don Lemon, which the president doesn't like. But a good third of the show will be a spirited, and insane, lying defense of Donald Trump."

O'Donnell ranks as MSNBC's second highest rated host behind Rachel Maddow, who is his lead-in at 9 p.m.

The former aide to the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-N.Y.) easily beats Lemon in total viewers, averaging 2 million per night in the latest tally of monthly ratings in May compared to Lemon's 789,000. O'Donnell also tops Lemon in the key 25–54 demographic advertisers covet most, with an average of 387,000 in the category versus Lemon's 271,000, according to Nielsen Media Research.

O'Donnell still finishes second overall in his timeslot behind surging Fox News host Laura Ingraham, who topped him with 2.6 million total viewers and 519,000 in the 25–54 demographic in the month of May.

Trump has never appeared on O'Donnell's program, "The Last Word," and has not done any interviews on MSNBC as a whole in more than two years, dating back to May of 2016.

As a candidate in June 2015, Trump did call O'Donnell "one of the dumber people on television" while speculating at the time if the host would keep his show.

O'Donnell re-signed with MSNBC in June 2017 after taking negotiations with the network public.