Howard Stern is the greatest celebrity interviewer alive, bar none. He is possessed of an uncanny ability to induce self-revelation, stroking and feeding the ego until it swells up and bursts. And nobody’s ego is bigger than Donald Trump’s, the bloviating New York real-estate baron turned bumbling politician. The two lascivious man-children were a match made in shock-jock heaven (or is it hell?), with each successive boast offering peeks into the Donald’s damaged psyche.
The Stern-Trump interviews, spread out over 35 on-air appearances between 1993 and 2015—and totaling around 15 hours—came back to bite candidate Trump a bit during the campaign. First revisited by yours truly at The Daily Beast—and later to far more consequential effect by ace reporters Andrew Kaczynski and Nathan McDermott, of BuzzFeed and CNN—the Stern interviews saw Trump at his crudest and most unguarded, whether it was objectifying his daughter Ivanka or, in a moment that haunted him during the presidential debates, confessing that he initially supported the invasion of Iraq.
“This is who Trump is,” said Stern of the 45th president. “He was always bombastic. He always rated women. He always talked in a misogynistic, sexist kind of way, but he did it sort of proudly and out in the open.”
This week, Bill Frischling over at Factbl.og dove in to the Howard Stern Show archives and uploaded all of the Stern-Trump interviews online. While the most shocking bits had already been mined by reporters in the lead-up to his surprise election victory, some new Trump information came to light, from his bizarre idea on how to combat airline terrorists (“the pilot… presses a button and sleeping gas comes out”) to telling Stern he hosted a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton prior to the 2008 Democratic primary to opening up about his and Melania’s sex life.
On an April 16, 2004, interview with Stern, Trump shares that he turned down several reality-show offers because “I didn’t want to have anybody watch me comb my hair,” while in an interview conducted on Feb. 27, 2006, Donald, Ivanka, and Don. Jr. can’t figure out the answer to what 17 x 6 is. “96? 94?” offers Don Jr. “That’s not a practical application, though,” adds Ivanka, refusing the question. “It’s 112,” chimes in Donald, who repeatedly insists that the answer is 112. If that weren’t enough, on no less than 10 occasions Trump shares the exact same story from his star-studded wedding to Marla Maples, with Stern telling reporters “there wasn’t a dry eye in the house” and “I give it six months”—comments that Trump cheerfully claims left Maples in tears on their wedding night.
The most eye-opening story from the unearthed Stern-Trump interviews, however, came during a chat on July 16, 2008.
Trump, a notorious germaphobe, is discussing his extreme distaste for blood. The mere sight of it, he says, causes him to recoil in disgust. Perhaps it explains why he accused then Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly of having her period after she asked him a tough question during a presidential debate, or why he sought multiple deferments to dodge the Vietnam War.
“I’m not good for medical. In other words, if you cut your finger and there’s blood pouring out, I’m gone,” he told Stern.
The former reality-TV host then shares a story with Stern about the time he thought a man died in front of him during a charity event at his Palm Beach club Mar-a-Lago and, rather than helping the injured man, Trump turned away in disgust at the sight of his blood.
“I was at Mar-a-Lago and we had this incredible ball, the Red Cross Ball, in Palm Beach, Florida. And we had the Marines. And the Marines were there, and it was terrible because all these rich people, they’re there to support the Marines, but they’re really there to get their picture in the Palm Beach Post… so you have all these really rich people, and a man, about 80 years old—very wealthy man, a lot of people didn’t like him—he fell off the stage,” said Trump.
Trump proceeds to explain that it was a $100,000-per-table fundraiser filled with deep-pocketed billionaires, and that the Marines were—for whatever reason—given tables in the very back of the ballroom (“the worst table in the whole place”). Oh, and that he was more preoccupied with his ballroom’s pristine marble floor than the octogenarian bleeding out on it.
“So what happens is, this guy falls off right on his face, hits his head, and I thought he died. And you know what I did? I said, ‘Oh my God, that’s disgusting,’ and I turned away,” said Trump. “I couldn’t, you know, he was right in front of me and I turned away. I didn’t want to touch him… he’s bleeding all over the place, I felt terrible. You know, beautiful marble floor, didn’t look like it. It changed color. Became very red. And you have this poor guy, 80 years old, laying on the floor unconscious, and all the rich people are turning away. ‘Oh my God! This is terrible! This is disgusting!’ and you know, they’re turning away. Nobody wants to help the guy. His wife is screaming—she’s sitting right next to him, and she’s screaming.”
Thank God for the Marines. “What happens is, these 10 Marines from the back of the room… they come running forward, they grab him, they put the blood all over the place—it’s all over their uniforms—they’re taking it, they’re swiping [it], they ran him out, they created a stretcher. They call it a human stretcher, where they put their arms out with, like, five guys on each side,” shared Trump.
“I was saying, ‘Get that blood cleaned up! It’s disgusting!’ The next day, I forgot to call [the man] to say he’s OK,” said Trump, adding of the blood, “It’s just not my thing.”
Like most Trump tales, what was intended as a story about the bravery and heroism of a handful of Marines instead revealed far more about the man telling it.