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David Letterman went into full-on savage attack mode when asked about Donald Trump during an interview with the New York Times that was published on Friday morning. Referring to the Republican presidential candidate as "Trumpy"—which is a bit catchier than "Drumpf"—Letterman insinuated that Trump needs "a psychiatrist" and "a prescription" because he doesn't "behave like any human you've known." It's a blistering attack from the former late night talk show host whose old interviews with Trump have worked their way into Hillary Clinton's campaign ads.
NYT reporter Dave Itzkoff started by asking Letterman about his take on Trump's character, since Trump was a frequent guest on Letterman's Late Show over the years. Letterman called him the "perfect guest" because Trump represented the excesses of New York City. “'By God, I’m Donald Trump and I date models and I put up buildings, and everything is gold,'” Letterman told the NYT. "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."
But Letterman said his opinion of Trump changed once he decided to run for president. He talked at length about some of the claims Trump has made during his campaign and criticized him for infamously mocking a reporter with a disability.
"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,'" Letterman said. "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."
And towards the end of his NYT interview, Letterman talked about how he would handle a late night interview with Trump in 2106. According to him, he would do things much differently than Jimmy Fallon did when he got the chance to interview Trump on The Tonight Show in September. He said he "would have gone right after" Trump.
"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?'” Letterman said.