After casting aside the conservative caricature that he played for so many years, many wondered how Stephen Colbert would interact with politicians as host of The Late Show. While his interviews with Jeb Bush and Joe Biden didn’t create many headlines, fans still had his sit-down with Donald Trump marked on the calendar.
Colbert didn’t disappoint during Tuesday night’s interview and even brought his former persona back into the mix for a segment of Trump or Colbert. “For years I played an over-the-top conservative character — not as long as you did, but for many years” said the host, “I was looking back at some of the things you’ve said over the years and sometimes I couldn’t figure out whether I said them or you said them.” He then challenged The Donald to identify which of the two men was responsible for a series of quotes.
To his credit, Trump went 5 for 6, misstepping only on “It’s freezing in New York. We need global warming!” which he incorrectly attributed to Colbert. Technically he got the final quote wrong too, but it was quite the curveball. The quote — “The real strong have no need to prove it to the phonies” — actually came from Charles Manson but is certainly something that either Trump or Colbert’s character might have said.
The rest of the interview was a bit more straightforward but did include some role playing. When Colbert asked Trump how he planned to get Mexico to pay for the border wall he has planned, the two staged a fake phone call in which Colbert played the President of Mexico, and Trump played his favorite character of all: Himself.
Colbert also tossed Trump a “big, fat meatball” by saying simply: “Barack Obama, born in the United States” and encouraging his guest to take a swing. The Republican frontrunner wouldn’t bite, however, and responded with “I don’t talk about it anymore” before highlighting the more pressing issues he’s focused on.
In the past, Trump famously raised doubts about whether or not the President was born outside of the U.S., but has declined to discuss his past comments on the campaign trail.
If you were expecting fireworks, you were probably disappointed, but you could sum up the interview with the one adjective that, for better or worse, has characterized Trump’s candidacy — entertaining.