David Letterman may have retired from late-night TV, but he’s still riffing heartily off of politicians. More specifically, the biggest U.S. politician of the moment.
U.S. President Donald Trump was clearly in Letterman’s crosshairs when he visited radio program The Howard Stern Show on Wednesday. The former host of The Late Show didn’t hesitate when it came to Trump, calling him a failed “experiment” and telling him to “just resign.”
“It’s time to go,” said Letterman to Stern. “It was an experiment. We put an outsider in the office. Well, it hasn’t worked. Just resign.”
Letterman, 70, claimed that Trump’s handling of the Charlottesville events illustrates how ill-equipped Trump is in complex situations, and Trump’s reactions have lowered America’s image in the eyes of the world. Letterman implied, half-joking, that Trump’s family should somehow trick him to believe he’s still president while slowly, quietly, removing him from office.
“The impeachment thing will take forever and may not end with a conviction,” he said. “You just get together some people, like his sons, Don Jr. and Don Jr. [Ed. note: this was a deliberate error]. Get those two guys together. Probably Regis [Philbin], put him on the panel. And Gary Busey. And his daughter, the youngest one, Trumpina. Just go to him and have him sign some papers and just move him down to Mar-a-Lago. They’ll build a little Oval Office for him down there. ‘No, you’re still president, dad.'”
Trump and Letterman have a long history, and as a native New Yorker, Trump frequently appeared on The Late Show before Letterman’s retirement in May 2015. Last October, the former talk-show host was very candid in a New York Times interview, calling the mogul a “big, blowhard billionaire.”
“Right 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,” Letterman said in the NYT interview.
In March, after Trump took office, Letterman called him “big and doughy” in a Vulture interview, saying he seemed like “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.”
“The thing I’m tired of is people [saying,] ‘Oh, can you believe what he did?’ Yeah, we can believe what he did,” Letterman said to Stern. “He’s been doing it for two years now.”
You can listen to some highlights from Letterman’s interview with Stern, below. (WARNING: The interview audio may contain language that some might find offensive. Listen at your own discretion.)
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 executive-produce upcoming documentary The Industrial Musicals Movie, which is expected for release in 2018.
It was also recently announced that Letterman will be returning to TV (on Netflix) for a six-episode series in 2018; he’ll be interviewing notable people in addition to doing his trademark off-the-cuff segments.