The 67-year-old BBC presenter who fronted the corporation’s flagship current affairs show Newsnight for 25 years, said that the US President had done “rather better than many people had expected”.
Mr Paxman told an audience at the Hay literary festival in Wales: “I don’t like these media class sneerings about Trump.
“I don’t share his politics on many things, but he was elected on that cockamamie system that they’ve got. He was elected president. And we should respect that.”
BBC veteran Jeremy Paxman in November 2014
He was responding to a question from the audience about whether his views on Donald Trump had changed since presenting the Panorama special 100 Days of Trump.
Mr Paxman, who was on stage with comedian Marcus Brigstocke, added: In some respects, he has done rather better than many people had expected.”
The comment drew a laugh from Mr Brigstocke, leading for Mr Paxman to respond: “Well, it won’t satisfy you sneery media types.”
Donald Trump meets Pope Francis in the Vatican Wed, May 24, 2017
Donald Trump met Pope Francis for a private audience in the Vatican
AFP/Getty Images 1 of 13
The Pope and the US President exchange gifts
Expanding on the subject, Paxman added that he strongly believed people have to vote “to be able to express an opinion” about politics, according to The Guardian, who sponsor the event.
He said: “The extraordinary thing is the number of people who talk about this being an abomination who didn’t bother to vote.
“Of course, Hillary Clinton was a terrible candidate, but the fact of not voting disqualifies you, or it seems to me ought to disenfranchise you from passing any comment at all.”
Get Quotes on Home Insurance
US President Donald Trump with First Lady Melania
I don’t share his politics on many things, but he was elected on that cockamamie system that they’ve got. He was elected president. And we should respect that
Jeremy Paxman on US President Donald Trump
However, Mr Paxman did admit to the Hay audience that he had not voted at some elections in the past.
He said: “There have been elections I haven’t voted in. The last time I didn’t vote, I was quite comfortable with my decision until about 7 ’o clock at night when I was at work and it was too late to do anything about it. And I felt more and more uncomfortable.
“We’re not given a great choice. But in the end, making decisions is very difficult. To be forced to make a decision every few years in order to put someone there who will make your decisions for you seems not to be a bad thing to do.”
Jeremy Paxman outside BBC Radio 2 in November last year
BBC presenter Jeremy Paxman
Mr Paxman also admitted he would like to interview Pope Francis.
He said: “The pope would be great. I’d like to challenge him on the question of contraception, abortion. I’d like to talk about papal authority, population control, migration. I think that it would be fascinating. I think he’d be more interesting than most and I think you’d probably get pretty straight answers, as far as he saw them.”