In a recent interview with Vulture, the former talk-show host didn’t hold back, lobbing numerous digs and insults at his country’s new leader while suggesting how late-night media should be handling him.
Calling him “Trumpy” (a nickname lovingly bestowed upon Trump by Letterman and his son, Harry), Letterman seemed to imply that the president has a mental disorder.
“The idea of Twitter: Trumpy — my son Harry and I call him ‘Trumpy’ — has really got something with it. Rather than a laughable expression of ego run amok, it could be a useful tool,” Letterman said. “If we get a president sometime soon who does not have a mental disorder, Twitter will be useful.”
Letterman also mocked Trump’s hair when asked how he would approach Trump if he were still hosting The Late Show.
“I’ve known the guy since the ’80s,” said Letterman. “I was one of a few people who had routinely interviewed him. I’m not blinded by the white-hot light of ‘president-elect.’ I mean, we elected a guy with that hair? Why don’t we investigate that?”
Letterman interviewed Trump dozens of times over his 33-year career, and he says that Trump went from being a “mogul” to “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,” said Letterman. “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.”
Letterman also claims that satire and comedy are essential during times of political upheaval, and says Alec Baldwin’s work on Saturday Night Live is deserving of a Presidential Medal of Freedom. Baldwin has been impersonating and playing Trump on the comedy show for the past several months.
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“The man has such thin skin that if you keep pressure on him … I remember there was a baseball game in Cleveland, and a swarm of flies came on the field and the batters were doing this [imitates swatting at flies] while the pitcher was throwing 100 miles an hour. Well, that’s Alec Baldwin and Saturday Night Live. It’s distracting the batter. Eventually Trump’s going to take a fastball off the sternum and have to leave the game.”
This isn’t the first time Letterman has gone after Trump; in the fall of 2016, he gave a similar-toned interview to the New York Times. His comments then were just as disparaging.
“I’ve known Donald Trump for a long time, and I always thought he was exactly what New York City needed to have: the big, blowhard billionaire,” said Letterman to the Times. “‘By God, I’m Donald Trump and I date models and I put up buildings, and everything is gold.’ Nobody took him seriously, and people loved him when he would come on the show. I would make fun of his hair, I would call him a slumlord, I would make fun of his ties. And he could just take a punch like nothing. He was the perfect guest.”
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The now-bearded Letterman is still noticeably absent from TV, but has appeared as himself in multiple skits on comedy show Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. He’s also going to star in the upcoming documentary The Industrial Musicals Movie, which is filming now and expected for release in 2018.
For the full interview with Letterman, head on over to Vulture.