David Letterman thinks Donald Trump should be “shunned” for his inflammatory rhetoric about Mexican immigrants and New York Times reporter Serge F. Kovaleski, who has a joint disorder and was mocked by Trump last year.
In a new interview with the Times, Letterman said the GOP presidential nominee was a “perfect guest” to chide while on The Late Show, but Trump’s candidacy took things a step too far.
“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 will take him aside and say, ‘Don, don’t do that,'” Letterman said, referencing Trump’s comments in June 2015 when he announced his candidacy. “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.”
In November of 2015, Trump mocked Kovaleski — who has arthrogryposis, a disease that limits the functionality of a person’s joints — by waving his arms in a wild manner. Trump denied his actions were a response to Kovaleski’s arthrogryposis, saying at the time, he “merely mimicked what I thought would be a flustered reporter trying to get out of a statement he made long ago.” (Trump used an article Kovaleski wrote in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, to put forth debunked claims about “thousands of people” cheering the collapse of the World Trade Center.)
Letterman has attacked Trump before, telling Tom Brokaw in an interview with NBC earlier this year that Trump was “despicable.”
“In everybody’s school, you hear, ‘The great thing about America is anybody can grow up to be President,'” Letterman said at the time. “Oh, jeez. I guess that might be true.”
Read his thoughts on Trump and Jimmy Fallon’s controversial interview with the candidate here.