Former late-night host David Letterman took aim at President Donald Trump and the members of his administration in a lengthy interview with New York magazine this week, explaining that he’d still love to interview the real estate mogul-turned-president one final time.
The 69-year-old former Late Night host, who retired in 2015, said that today’s late-night shows have an “obligation” to challenge the president, and described how he would interview Trump if he could get one final shot at him.
“I would just start with a list. ‘You did this. You did that. Don’t you feel stupid for having done that, Don? And who’s this goon Steve Bannon, and why do you want a white supremacist as one of your advisers? Come on, Don, we both know you’re lying. Now, stop it.'”
Below, find more excerpts from New York‘s interview with Letterman:
On his previous interviews with Trump, before he announced for the presidency:
“He was a joke of a wealthy guy. We didn’t take him seriously. He’d sit down, and I would just start making fun of him. He never had any retort. He was big and doughy, and you could beat him up. He seemed to have a good time, and the audience loved it, and that was Donald Trump. Beyond that, I remember a friend in the PR business told me that he knew for a fact — this was three or four presidential campaigns ago — that Donald Trump would never run for president; he was just monkeying around for the publicity. So I assumed that was the story and now it turns out he’s the president.”
On Trump’s Cabinet and advisers:
“It’s delightful. Kellyanne Conway was my favorite for a long time. This thing about her telling everyone, ‘Go buy Ivanka’s shoes; I’m going to go buy Ivanka’s shoes. Hell, I’ll buy you a pair of Ivanka’s shoes.’ Then they had to counsel her. Boy, if this administration decides you need counseling — whoa. And poor Sean Spicer is a boob who just got out of a cab and now here he is. Then the other kid, is it Miller?”
“[Stephen Miller.] Wow, that guy is creepy. He fell out of a truck. And the guy from Exxon, Rex Tillerson. Don would say, “Rex, if you’re talking to your friends, ask them” — I’m sure the Russians groomed Trump. They gave him tips: “You want to be an authoritarian dictator? Sure, that’s not a problem. We’ll tell you how to do it, for God’s sake.”
On comedy being an effective form of protection from Trump’s “craziness:”
“Comedy’s one of the ways that we can protect ourselves. Alec Baldwin deserves a Presidential Medal of Freedom. Sadly, he’s not going to get it from this president.”
On ignoring Trump’s Twitter posts:
“Let’s stop that. We don’t need more confirmation that there’s something wrong with Donald Trump. Let’s instead find ways to rebuild what is rational. And the Democrats, goddamn it, get a little backbone, get a little spine.
The only person I can trust anymore is Al Franken, who has a great brain and a great heart. I believe what he says.”
On Trump’s dust-up with Rep. John Lewis:
Holy God. First of all, because I’m always thinking about myself, I think, I was about John Lewis’s age when he marched across the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Would I have had the guts to do that? The all-talk John Lewis goes down there and gets a goddamned skull fracture. I mean, Trumpy will never have to worry about a skull fracture because of the hair. Thank you! How do you know if Donald Trump is lying? His lips are moving. Thank you! But in addition to every other thing that’s wrong with the Trump, he’s ignorant in a way that’s insulting to the office, insulting to America, insulting to human rights, insulting to civil rights, insulting to John Lewis. Trump saying that broke my heart.
Read Letterman’s full interview with New York here.
Follow Daniel Nussbaum on Twitter: @dznussbaum