Do you miss the cantankerous old days of David Letterman’s Late Show? In an interview with the New York Times, Letterman says that he would have dispensed with the civility of Stephen Colbert or the frivolity of Jimmy Fallon if he had had Donald Trump on as a late-night guest. Letterman sees Trump as a “damaged human being” because he called Mexicans “rapists” and mocked a reporter’s disability. “If you can do that, and not apologize, you’re a person to be shunned,” Letterman said.
So how would he have handled him as a late-night guest?
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. I don’t know anything about trade agreements. I don’t know anything about China devaluing the yuan. 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.
Of course, Letterman had Trump on as a guest of The Late Show a number of times, but not while he was a presidential candidate. Letterman said that he enjoyed Trump as a guest because he represented the “the big, blowhard billionaire.” Even still, the two got into a beef back in 2011, when Letterman told his guest Dr. Phil McGraw that Trump’s birtherism conspiracy “smack[s] of racism” — prompting Trump to cancel an upcoming appearance on the show. Ah, what could have been.