Trump breaks silence on Roseanne race row, attacks ABC

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Washington (AFP)

President Donald Trump on Wednesday broke his silence about the racism row engulfing supporter Roseanne Barr, not to condemn her outburst but to attack ABC television for broadcasting "horrible" statements against himself.

The US network on Tuesday canceled hit sitcom "Roseanne," after star Barr fired off a racist tweet against former White House advisor Valerie Jarrett, who was one of Barack Obama's closest aides.

Jarrett revealed that Bob Iger, the head of ABC parent company Disney, telephoned her personally to tell her the network was cancelling the show.

"Bob Iger of ABC called Valerie Jarrett to let her know that 'ABC does not tolerate comments like those' made by Roseanne Barr," Trump tweeted Wednesday.

"Gee, he never called President Donald J. Trump to apologize for the HORRIBLE statements made and said about me on ABC. Maybe I just didn't get the call?"

On Tuesday, the White House deflected questions on the scandal and whether ABC had been right to cancel the sitcom.

"That's not what the president is looking at," said White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders. "I think that we have a lot bigger things going on in the country right now."

Barr, 65 and a vocal Trump supporter who has used Twitter to voice far-right and conspiracy theorist views, took aim at Jarrett in a post that read: "Muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby = vj."

She later apologized for what she called a "joke." But ABC said it was canceling the show, condemning her "abhorrent, repugnant" tweet, which was "inconsistent with our values."

"Roseanne" was rebooted in March after a 21-year hiatus with Barr's character recast as a Trump supporter in a rare depiction of working class life on the US small screen.

The show scored huge ratings and was renewed for an 11th season after largely positive reviews -- including from the president.