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Trump ‘Tonight’: ‘I Don’t Know Putin,’ But Wouldn’t Be a ‘Bad Thing’ to Get Along with Russia

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump expressed gratitude for the support driving his candidacy during a visit to The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on Thursday night.

In an interview that featured both Fallon’s lighthearted bantering style and strikingly low-key candidness from Trump, the Republican candidate opened up about his motivation for running for president and was not afraid to poke fun at himself and some of his trademark campaign behavior.

“We just got a great poll from Colorado; normally a Republican wouldn’t do particularly well there, and we’re leading in Colorado, we’re leading in Iowa, we’re leading in Ohio and Florida, we’re leading all over. It’s been amazing,” Trump said.

“I love the polls,” he added with a laugh, “but if I’m losing or lagging I never mention them.”

The pair discussed Vladimir Putin, with Trump dismissing attempts by the media and the Democrats to paint the pair as “best friends.”

“I don’t know him,” Trump told Fallon. “I just think if we got along with Russia that’s not a bad thing, and getting along with other countries. The Democrats are trying to say I like him. I don’t like him, I don’t dislike him, I don’t have any feelings one way or the other, and it’s not going to matter what he says about me. If he says good things about me or bad things about me, I’m going to make great deals for our country. I’m interested in our country, I’m interested in the success of our country.”

Trump said he was preparing for his first presidential debate with Democrat Hillary Clinton later this month at Hofstra University. The candidate said he though Matt Lauer did a “fantastic job” moderating this month’s commander-in-chief forum, and expressed concern that the media was trying to “game” the first debate by placing pressure on moderator Lester Holt to be especially tough on him, after what critics said was an underwhelming effort by Lauer earlier this month. Trump explained that that is precisely why he has called for debates with no moderators.

“The concept of having us both standing on stage and just debating… I think would be fascinating for people,” he said.

Fallon engaged Trump in some late-night banter about board games (the candidate prefers Monopoly to Sorry!) and memories about his childhood home in Queens.

When Fallon asked, as part of a mock “job interview,” why Trump wanted to leave his current job, Trump deadpanned: “I’m looking to make a lot less money.”

Fallon concluded the interview by asking Trump whether he could mess his hair up, seeing as how the next time he visits the show, he could be President of the United States. After a brief pause to think about it, Trump let Fallon have at it, to the delight of the studio audience.

 

Follow Daniel Nussbaum on Twitter: @dznussbaum

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