Last week, President Donald Trump took a break from overseeing the federal response to a deadly pandemic that has killed more than 85,000 people in the United States to date to tweet about the man he likes to call “no talent Stephen Colbert.”
On Thursday night, Watch What Happens Live host Andy Cohen asked Colbert if he would want to interview Trump on The Late Show.
Colbert reminded him that he actually did have Trump on his show back in September 2015, not long after he launched his presidential bid. “I did once,” he said. “I wouldn’t want to anymore.” He called his one and only interview with Trump “disappointing” because “he played the ‘reasonable man.’”
“He’s always kind of in persona mode,” Colbert continued. “Sometimes he plays the rallying populist, sometimes he plays ‘reasonable man.’ Backstage, he’s just like some guy you’d meet at a club.” He clarified that he meant country club, not dance club.
“He’s kind of innocuous in a way,” he added. “There’s nothing particularly remarkable about him. But then he puts on a persona for the camera and the persona he gave me when he was on the show that first time was actually very quiet and very reserved. He played it very safe. He wouldn’t even make eye contact for most of it. He played it extremely safe and that’s always boring. He’s essentially boring.”
That 2015 appearance by Trump on The Late Show was certainly “disappointing,” especially for fans of The Colbert Report who were hoping for the type of contentious conversations for which the comedian was known during those years.
Colbert alluded to the “knife fights” he used to have with guests on that show, citing conservative commentator (and convicted felon) Dinesh D’Souza as one memorable example. “I didn’t actually enjoy them that much,” he told Cohen, “because I didn’t want to scare away guests.”
At one point during his sit-down with Trump, Colbert went so far as to offer up an apology, telling him, “I have said a few things about you over the years that in polite company are perhaps unforgivable.”
When the host then asked his guest if he wanted to say sorry for anything—anything at all—Trump said he had nothing to apologize for.
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