David Letterman: Trump is a ‘damaged human being’ who should be shunned


Throughout this election cycle, I’ve been missing Jon Stewart so much that at times it feels like a physical ache. Jon Stewart was never “the voice” of whatever generation, but most of the time, he could make me feel better about our insane country and our insane world. While I love John Oliver and Samantha Bee (both are my dream spouses), it does feel like our comedy has been severely kneecapped this year by a bunch of dudes who don’t know how to talk about or to Donald Trump. Before this very moment, though, I didn’t realize how much I had been missing David Letterman. Trump used to go on Letterman’s show all the time, and they were friendly in a showbiz way. But Letterman gave an interview to the New York Times this week and he makes it clear that if he was still in charge of things, he would be going after Trump HARD. You can read the full piece here at the NYT. Highlights:

His interviews with Trump over the years: “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. “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.

The breaking point for Letterman: “So now, he decides he’s running for president. And 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. And then, I can remember him doing an impression, behind a podium, of a reporter for The New York Times who has a congenital disorder. And then I thought, if this was somebody else — if this was a member of your family or a next-door neighbor, a guy at work — you would immediately distance yourself from that person. And that’s what I thought would happen. Because if you can do that in a national forum, that says to me that you are a damaged human being. If you can do that, and not apologize, you’re a person to be shunned.

Whether Trump will be elected: “I kept telling people he will absolutely not get elected. And then David Brooks said he’ll get the nomination and he will be crushed in the general election. And I thought: Yeah, that’s exactly what’s going to happen. I stand by that. The thing about Trumpy was, I think people just were amused enough about him to keep him afloat in the polls, because nobody wanted the circus to pull up and leave town.

How Hillary Clinton used a clip from his show in one of her ads: “I was flattered. I was pleased. I felt like I still have a small voice in this. I thought it was good. Slowly but surely, everybody got sucked into this vortex. “Did you hear what Donald Trump said?” And everything downstream got worse and worse. Poor Ruth Bader Ginsburg gets sucked into it, and I’m thinking, Oh, don’t take the bait, ma’am. Then she says so-and-so and she has to apologize. Kids, if you turn off the light, the moths will stop coming.

How he would handle Trump as a guest now: “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.”

[From The New York Times]

This reminded me of Letterman’s longtime affection for the old-school news men like Ted Koppel, Tom Brokaw and such. Like, that’s the kind of voice we’re missing here. Someone older and stable and decent, someone with gravitas who says, “No, it’s not acceptable to say that. We can’t allow that.” Letterman does radiate an inherent decency, that vein of Midwestern authenticity. I hope people are listening.


Photos courtesy of WENN.

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70 Responses to “David Letterman: Trump is a ‘damaged human being’ who should be shunned”

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  1. Alix says:

    Dave would’ve eviscerated Trump and I’d have savored every minute of it.

    • Melly says:

      But would it have made a difference? People have gone after Trump, particularly people in the media, and it has not made a bit of difference. So many people in this country don’t trust the media, and most of those people are Trump supporters. If someone hits Trump with facts, his supporters support him even more. It’s insane. I don’t understand how people can not like and listen to reason and facts.

      • Esmom says:

        I hear you but as Dave said, maybe if people/the media had started shunning him sooner, he — and we — would not be in this current position and someone else would be the GOP nominee.

      • Melly says:

        I guess you could be right, but I’m not so sure. Trump supporters think the “liberal media” are a bunch of liars who are dedicated to undermining republicans. People who believe this thought this way before Trump starting running for president. I do believe that the media in general should have taken Trump more seriously from the beginning. There should have been more in-depth reporting early on about Trump, his business dealings, controversies, etc.

      • Esmom says:

        Melly, I think you nailed it…people just didn’t take him seriously. No one ever expected him to get this far. He and his basket of followers just seemed to ahead of everyone and haven’t looked back. Yet.

    • Jessica says:

      Dave is a total douche….go back to St Barts and your piles of money

    • James C jones says:

      Dave is a perv and in no position to talk!!!

  2. lucy2 says:

    I think that was well stated by Letterman – and coming from someone who knew Trump, it carries some weight.

    I love Oliver and Bee’s shows. Samantha had a brilliant piece talking to Trump supporters about the “rigged” claims on this week’s show. I desperately miss Jon Stewart, but I think if he had to deal with this circus, it may have killed him.

    • Amelia says:

      Oh my god, that segment was *brilliant*.

      “So, the election is going to be rigged?”
      “Oh, absolutely. For sure.”
      “But Trump is going to win in November?”
      “By a landslide, he’s gonna destroy ‘old crooked Hillary”.
      “But you just said the election is going to be rigged.”


      On a side note, my phone now automatically auto-corrects certain words to ‘Trump’.
      Someone stop the world, please. I want to get off.

    • Melly says:

      I also love Oliver and Bee, but i HATE that they are only on once a week! I need more days a week of reason and comedy! I can’t watch the Daily Show anymore. I really tried to get down with Trevor Noah, but it just doesn’t work. Noah is adorable and funny every once in awhile, but it’s not the smart humor you got with Stewart.

      • Kate says:

        Give Seth Meyers a try. His political segments are on point, and his interviews aren’t bad either. They have done a few live shows this year after the debates and conventions, and I was so impressed with the smart material that they churned out so quickly.

      • Melly says:

        You’re right, I like Seth Meyers. He is really smart and I like his political commentary. He doesn’t get enough credit!

    • Kitten says:

      OT but has anybody seen Bee’s show Full Frontal? Any good?

      • Ally8 says:

        Good material, but her delivery was off. It’s like the teleprompter is in ALL CAPS.

        I thought they’d correct course, but four episodes in, she was still doing it. I couldn’t take it anymore. Subtlety is good.

      • doofus says:

        yes and yes.

      • Soror Bro says:

        I don’t find Bee that funny. On the other hand this season of South Park is doing a great job of taking the piss out of the election. It’s well worth checking out.

      • Lucy2 says:

        I think Full Frontal is excellent. Samantha doesn’t pull any punches, and she does come off angry, but with good reason- aren’t we all angry about all of us?
        My favorite part was her taking Herman Cain’s old campaign bus to the convention!

  3. Patricia says:

    It’s so true. How does Trump go on after all the things he says and does, things that would bury any other candidate?!
    It’s because his supporters are racist animals and they LIKE hearing bigotry and hatred on the national stage.

    • jwoolman says:

      I wonder if the campaign by the National Education Association linking Trump’s rhetoric to bullying of immigrant and Muslim kids will have an impact. The number of stories about such incidents from teachers are heartbreaking and growing. The kids are really scared even if they are American citizens. Refugee children are terrified that they will be sent back to the awful situations from which their families escaped. The children bullying them are naming Trump in their intimidation attempts.

      • Pedro45 says:

        I think I said this in a previous post but I teach ESOL to adult immigrant women and yes, things have been rough for them. My Muslim students all wear hijab and have told me that they have all been harassed on the street, including but not limited to, being spit on. It breaks my heart.

      • adastraperaspera says:

        Thanks for the reminder that the NEA is shining a light on bullying. I mentioned in a post a couple weeks ago that my cousin’s son (age 13) started getting bullied in school at the beginning of this year for being Muslim, when Trump was on the news all the time. He’s had a really tough year because of it. He’s an amazing kid!! He doesn’t deserve this kind of treatment!

    • LookyLoo says:

      And, yet, they take offense at being called deplorable.

      • sunny says:

        No we really don’t. We don’t care about name calling as it’s constant and has lost all meaning. Why would we be concerned with the opinions of people that we dislike and have zero respect for? It’s kind of sad that people still think those sad attempts at shaming or moral preening or whatever it is, works.

      • jen y tonic says:

        They don’t take offense to being called deplorable. They wear it as a badge of honor, because to them it means they “keep it real” and are doing their part to Make America Great Again. At least with this contingent you know what you are getting at. What I actually find more deplorable is the “I don’t like Trump but I could never vote for HRC” crowd. Those people are why we can’t have nice things.

      • Melly says:

        Trump supporters acted like HRC calling some of them deplorable was worse than what Trump has said about other people. It isn’t even comparable! Some of Trump supporters ARE deplorable! I wish she wouldn’t have apologized. Now they wear it as a badge of honor. They aren’t bothered by supporting a candidate who has the KKK vote, but a woman calling them deplorable is offensive to them. Logic, reason, and decency elude most of the Trump supporters and Trump himself.

      • doofus says:

        Shaming and moral preening doesn’t work on Drumpf or his supporters because they have no shame and no morals.

        however, I’d like to think they still think that mocking someone’s disability is pretty shameful.

        what say you, sunny? do you think it’s OK to mock a person’s disability because you don’t like what they wrote about you?

      • Esmom says:

        Melly, yes, it was the height of hypocrisy for Mike Pence to berate HRC for the basket of deplorables comment — ONE comment — when the insults from the Trump camp have been constant and relentless and far more egregious.

        I think Letterman put it better than anyone else I’ve heard, Trump is truly a damaged human being.

      • delorb says:

        The ‘deplorable’ name has been added to a lot of people’s Twitter handles. So yeah, it’s a badge of honor for some. I blame the mainstream media. It is so easy to debunk the lies that are being told, but they never do. They could do a quick segment at the end of each broadcast to give the masses the truth about various lies.

        But with them, everything has to be presented as fact, even lies, lest they are called partial. Sorry, but when they were saying the President wasn’t born here, their responsibility was to point out that he was. No ambiguity. No treating the evidence as being up in the air. Clinton’s emails are treated the same as Trump’s scam of a university.

        I miss Dave, but he never waded much into politics. I miss Jon, but Stephen is doing a very good job on his show. But having said that, John and Samantha are must see TV.

      • SusanneToo says:

        @Melly. No, SOME of Trump’s supporters aren’t deplorable-MOST of them are deplorable.

      • Melly says:

        @Esmom The VP debate was crazy. It’s like Pence has never met Trump or listened to a single thing the Cheeto Dictator has ever said. He never tried to defend what Trump has said, he just denied that he ever said it. Trump/Pence must think the American people are beyond dumb. Pence just made up policies (like what he said about Syria) that Trump has never discussed nor is it in their platform.
        @SusanneToo I’m not too proud to admit when I’m wrong. You’re absolutely right, most of Trump supporters are deplorable. Some are not.

      • doofus says:

        delorb, that drives me CRAZY.

        reporting the truth is NOT “bias”!

    • naomipaige says:

      It’s scary that he still has supporters after all the BS he’s been spitting out. It certainly speaks volumes about them.

  4. HH says:

    That’s the part about Trump that kills me. He’s a buffoon, no doubt. However, I will forever be flabbergasted by the amount of people that want said buffoon in the highest office of the U.S.

  5. GingerCrunch says:


  6. LinaLamont says:

    I miss David Letterman.
    Seth Meyers’ weekend-update-ish opening is the only thing worth watching on late-night (out of the 4 or 5 white men on network tv, at this point.. although, I like Kimmel more as time goes on).

    • Tiny Martian says:

      Oh, I agree 100%, Lina! Seth’s political commentaries have been stellar. He’s the only late night host I watch now that I’ve grown tired of Jimmy Fallon’s games and tongue-bathing all of his guests (especially Trump and Chris Christie!)

    • lucy2 says:

      The clips I’ve seen of Seth have been great, but I always forget to watch.
      Colbert has been landing some solid punches too. I think CBS could only muzzle him for so long, he’s too smart to play the neutral talk show host.

      • Kate says:

        Yes! I just mentioned Seth upthread. I’ve been so impressed with the smart political commentary on his show this year.

  7. Lightpurple says:

    I miss Jon but I REALLY miss Letterman. He did the best political interviews, never afraid to call them on rhetoric and ask follow ups

  8. doofus says:

    anyone who would mock a disabled person for their disability and the effects thereof is a sh*tty human being.

    but most of his supporter would probably do the same.

    • Melly says:

      Just one example of Trump being disgusting and awful. I’m a caregiver to my mother who is disabled due to MS. After seeing Trump mock that reporter, I desperately wanted to punch that orange POS in his dumb, hating spewing face. I took the insult of that reporter personally.

      • doofus says:

        Melly, you’re a good daughter, and Drumpf is lower than the excrement in the sewers. I will hold your coat while you stomp that disgusting orange THING.

      • Melly says:

        Thanks Doofus! I wouldn’t want to get Drumpf blood or orange dust on my nice coat.

      • naomipaige says:


        I would’ve been right behind you with a one-two punch myself!

    • Keaton says:

      Yep. That alone was enough me to conclude the man was unfit for the Presidency

  9. Tara says:

    I miss Letterman far more than I miss Stewart. Far more.

  10. sunny says:

    He’s got a lot of nerve to call anyone out as he is a well known sexual harasser and pervert cheater. Perhaps he should attend to his own multiple personality flaws and issues before he starts trying to start a shunning campaign against anyone. Isn’t it interesting that the most deplorable (lol) people in real life have zero self awareness and love to point fingers when their own lives are littered with despicable behavior? Really makes ya think!

    • Mia4S says:

      Oh please. Letterman publically apologized, and no woman has ever made accusations of wrongdoing against him. His behaviour was wrong and he acknowledged that. The rest is between him and his family. He’s not running for public office.

      His comments about the Fascist Cheeto are spot on; the trash who has never apologized for being a racist, misogynist, tax cheat, danger to humanity.

    • doofus says:

      “Isn’t it interesting that the most deplorable (lol) people in real life have zero self awareness and love to point fingers when their own lives are littered with despicable behavior?”

      aaaaaaannnndddd….you just described Drumpf to a “T”.

    • Jusayin says:

      So Sunny as a supporter of Trump and your belief that Letterman is a serial cheater, aren’t you supposed to be blaming Letterman’s significant other for his cheating?

    • delorb says:

      Yeah, because Donald never cheated on any of his WIVES.

    • Melly says:

      Sunny, I’m sure you know how ridiculous your comment is. I’m positive you know Trump is everything you called Letterman. Trump has no self awareness and never apologizes, and like you said people like that are the most deplorable.
      I feel really sorry for you. I don’t know what happened in your life to make you think Trump is a leader you want to follow and support. I hope you learn to love and respect yourself and other people. Maybe if you educate yourself more on domestic and international issues you’ll reassess your support for Trump.

      • Bubbles says:

        Sunny , puts her party before her country..That’s how deplorable she is! Poor Ignorant Lunatic. Lucky for her and us, we won’t allow him anywhere near the white house….
        Sunny sweety, Go have a good ole Texas sized steak & a cigarette to celebrate ,Cheers!

      • naomipaige says:

        Sunny just might be the a-hole Trump himself!

    • lucy2 says:

      Letterman’s not perfect, sure. Who is? But he’s also not running for President, or seeking power of any kind.

    • Kitten says:

      You—–nah, you’ve already been adequately fed.

    • Bubbles says:

      Hi “Cheers Brandi”. maybe twitter is your best bet, thats Dumb Donalds fav format!

    • Melly says:

      And now the new recording of Trump bragging that as a star, you can grab women by the p#$$y. He is a disgusting old man.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        I can’t believe this hideous and disrespectful ignorant man is a nominee for President and in a tight race. So shameful!!!!

        Think of all of the women he has groped!

    • lightpurple says:

      “Well-known sexual harasser and pervert cheater” Really? He had an affair with one employee that is known about and she made no allegations of sexual harassment. And “pervert”? Seriously?

      Meanwhile, Trump is now having to address a video recording in which he describes how he loves to grab attractive woman by the crotch as a conversation starter. Paul Ryan, an evil man in his own misogynistic right, is about to explode.

  11. K says:

    I miss Dave and everything he said is true, it’s not Trumps weak and horrible policies which are bad but it’s what he says they are damaging to the fabric of society.

    You treat others with respect, you treat people the way you want to be treated and if you do something wrong or hurt someone you apologize. Trump can’t do that, he doesn’t understand that.

    • Melly says:

      I also can’t not understand how Trump feels like he never needs to apologize. How can a 70 year old man who thinks he should be PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES be more immature than a young child? Can you imagine if he wins?My god, he would do so much damage to the country and the world in 4 years. It is imperative that everyone votes up and down the ticket. The fact that the race is even close makes me feel so embarrassed for my country.

  12. original kay says:

    I feel that way about Rick Mercer. He just has such a way of getting to the point that reaches me. I adore him and his show.

  13. robyn says:

    It is pretty frightening to see his polls continue to go up or get close to Hillary. It’s not that he exists but that he has all these supporters. I have actually stumbled on a couple of them myself and they seem like ordinary nice people on the surface of things so I am beyond perplexed as to why they would support the man. Some don’t trust Hillary. That is a big problem. Perception is reality. Even though Trump lies like a rug, they trust him more. That is just crazy to me. I also think there is systemic racism in America but not all people recognize it in themselves. This race has been like lifting a rock and finding all the bugs hidden beneath.

    • Annetommy says:

      Good analogy. If my favourite politician, who I had admired for years, said the things Trump has said, I would immediately stop admiring them and never ever vote for them. It’s not the media reporting stuff, it’s not his opponent alleging stuff: we can look at him actually SAYING that stuff. That vile stuff. His supporters can see him saying it too. If they support him, they are endorsing what he’s saying. And that is deplorable.

  14. Kitten says:

    Wow. Letterman so eloquently cut to the heart of why Trump is such an unsettling, unsavory character. I was unexpectedly moved by this interview.

  15. Jayna says:

    Spot on, Dave. Spot on.

  16. TheMehgetarian says:

    “This reminded me of Letterman’s longtime affection for the old-school news men like Ted Koppel, Tom Brokaw and such. Like, that’s the kind of voice we’re missing here. Someone older and stable and decent, someone with gravitas who says, “No, it’s not acceptable to say that. We can’t allow that.”

    Dan Rather is an old-school voice who’s been saying exactly that all over social media since the primaries. Help him out and boost his signal–he’s writing fantastic, heartbreaking stuff right now.