On the May 25 episode of his ABC talk show, Jimmy Kimmel landed a huge interview with Donald Trump, the "tangerine-tinted Godzilla" of the 2016 election. Yes, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee took to late night in an attempt to be serious in the face of comedy — the opposite of his usual shtick. Given that most of Trump's interviews to date have seemed like a huge farce, the answers he gave Kimmel seemed to be among the most honest to date; he even admitted that he's "full of shit," or at least he was "a little bit" back in the day.
After welcoming the "fire-breathing billionaire who incinerated all who opposed him to become his party’s presumptive nominee for President of the United States," Kimmel got to task. He ran Trump through the comedic ringer, snickering as he fired off nearly every question, but in doing so he grilled the real estate mogul to a degree that's yet to be seen on Fox News or CNN. No stones were left unturned, but the biggest moment of the night was prompted not by Trump, but the other outsider of the election: Bernie Sanders. He wrote Trump a letter with a big proposition:
Hillary Clinton backed out of an agreement to debate me in California before the June 7th primary. Are you prepared to debate the major issues facing our largest state and the country prior to the California primary?
The shocking answer? "Yes, I am," Trump told Kimmel, with the studio audience as a witness, hinting that everything has a price. “How much is he going to pay me? Because if I debated him, we would have such high ratings and I think I should take that money and give it to some worthy charity. If he paid a nice sum for a charity I would love to do that.”
Trump also agreed that if a network gave the donation, he'd also be willing to debate Sanders. Dates have not been set but Sanders already responded on Twitter, understandably excited about taking the stage against Trump.
If Trump has his way, that would be just the first of many debates against the Vermont Senator. Trump thinks Sanders would be easier to beat in the general election, despite the polls. Trump also had some fuel of his own to add to the fire about the Democratic nomination process:
Well, I actually think that Bernie would be easier to beat—even though he shows up a little bit better in the polls—and I may be wrong. But what I do like about Bernie is that, when he loses, because the system is rigged against him, totally—just the way it was rigged against me, I mean, the system is rigged.And if I didn’t win by massive landslides every state there was no chance I could have won. He is sorta having the same thing… She's got superdelegates that were just handed to her. I don’t know how she got them. Nobody understands it, but it’s an unfair system.
Asked about the other Democrat in the race — in particular his past zeal for Hillary Clinton — and Trump got as close to honest as we may ever see. Back in 2008 and in 2012, Trump praised the then-presidential nominee and later Secretary of State; he said she'd make an "excellent president" and was "terrific." He basically admitted he was "full of shit" to Kimmel:
Well, let me just explain to you. I’m a business man. I had a beautiful story recently where they said Trump is a world-class businessman. All over the world I’m doing jobs. I speak well of everybody. If people ask me about politicians, I speak well, so when they ask me about Hillary, "She’s wonderful, everybody’s wonderful.”
"So you were full of shit?" Kimmel countered. "A little bit," Trump replied with his smart aleck smile.
The one topic that Kimmel didn't make much headway with was Trump's vice president pick. Still no news there. He asked if Ben Carson had been fired from the search committee or quit; Trump said no and went on to sing Carson's praises: "Ben is a great guy. I’ll tell you, Ben Carson is a great person. He is. He’s very smart, and he’s a very fine person." The ultimate way to pick a vice president, Kimmel countered, would be à la The Apprentice, kicking off one potential VP pick every week. The ratings would be yuuge.
The other key topic that Trump discussed was the hoopla in the GOP around trans people using the public bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity. Trump officially backpedaled after another wishy-washy interview this week with Bill O'Reilly. Trump had previously said trans people should use the restroom that they want. His response to Kimmel was let the states decide, but pressed repeatedly on whether he supported trans people on the matter, he said, "Honestly, I don’t know… It’s a very…" And Trump continued to mumble on, never giving a clear or complete though on the issue.
Despite these moments of honesty, there were of course some delusional moments. When asked if he would try to crush his own children if they ever ran against him for president, Trump said he would try to...even though they're his blood relatives. Yikes. Watch out Hillary; even Barron would be worried to go toe-to-toe with his dad.
Image: Jimmy Kimmel Live/ABC (1)