David Letterman: Donald Trump ‘Damaged,’ Jimmy Fallon Should Have ‘Gone After Him’
David Letterman has harsh words for Donald Trump in a New York Times interview, calling the presidential candidate “damaged.” He also criticizes Jimmy Fallon’s recent interview with the Republican nominee.
Trump appeared on Letterman’s “Late Night” and “Late Show” many times over the years, but they didn’t always get along. Still, the former late-night host calls him the “perfect guest,” since he was an easy target for ribbing. Now, however, Letterman believes the mogul should be “shunned.”
“Rght out of the box, he goes after immigrants and how they’re drug dealers and they’re rapists. And everybody swallows hard. And they think, oh, well, somebody’ll take him aside and say, ‘Don, don’t do that.’ But it didn’t happen,” he tells the newspaper.
He continues, “And then, I can remember him doing an impression, behind a podium, of a reporter for The New York Times who has a congenital disorder. And then I thought, if this was somebody else — if this was a member of your family or a next-door neighbor, a guy at work — you would immediately distance yourself from that person. And that’s what I thought would happen. Because if you can do that in a national forum, that says to me that you are a damaged human being. If you can do that, and not apologize, you’re a person to be shunned.”
Letterman attributes Trump’s political success so far to people being “amused enough about him to keep him afloat in the polls, because nobody wanted the circus to pull up and leave town.” He expects the candidate to be “crushed in the general election,” and calls it “flattering” that Hillary Clinton is using old footage of them in a campaign ad. “I felt like I still have a small voice in this,” he says.
The late-night hosts have had a big voice in this election season, most recently with Fallon getting slammed for his Trump interview, which was perceived to be too soft. Asked what he would have done in that situation, Letterman offers, “If I had a show, I would have gone right after him. I would have said something like, ‘Hey, nice to see you. Now, let me ask you: what gives you the right to make fun of a human who is less fortunate, physically, than you are?’ And maybe that’s where it would have ended. Because I don’t know anything about politics.”
Letterman adds, “But if you see somebody who’s not behaving like any other human you’ve known, that means something. They need an appointment with a psychiatrist. They need a diagnosis and they need a prescription.” He and Trump are pictured above on NBC’s “Late Night” in 1987.