Stephen Colbert has been covering presidential elections satirically since George W. Bush ran against Al Gore in 2000. That makes this year his fifth presidential election, and this time, he’s not holding back.
During a special edition of The Bill Carter Interview, the new The Late Show host shed his Colbert Report persona to introduce audiences to the “real” Stephen Colbert and spoke bluntly to veteran television journalist Bill Carter about his single interview with Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
Trump appeared on ‘The Late Show’ in Sept. 2015, before the candidate had clinched his party’s nomination, when the idea of a Trump candidacy seemed much more far fetched. Colbert doesn’t “regret the attempt” he made to press Trump during the interview, but does “regret that that’s the only bite he’s going to get at the apple.”
“I would have [Trump] on [The Late Show] tomorrow, but he’s a coward,” Colbert said.
“It is clear that Donald Trump is a coward because he won’t come back on the show… He’s a chicken,” Colbert continued while making chicken noises.
“You may get a Tweet today,” Carter joked, referring to the candidate’s tendency to Tweet in response to criticism.
“Oh god, what I would give, what I would give,” Colbert responded. “What an honor!”
The veteran late-night host also explained the difference between making jokes during general election versus other news cycles.
“During the general election, everybody cares and nobody gets killed,” he said. “You can get straight to the joke, day after day, without educating the audience first.”
Like many others covering this year’s presidential race, Colbert is still slightly baffled by the “mainstream rejection of one of the candidates.”
“USA Today for god sakes! The thing that get slipped underneath your door, the cartoon page masquerading as a newspaper,” Colbert declared. “They’re not saying vote for Hillary. Just don’t vote for him. I’ve never seen that before.”