The political firestorm that’s polarized the nation in the final weeks before the presidential election has now swept up late night talk show host David Letterman and placed him into the partisan news cycle. Letterman invited Donald Trump to be a guest on the “Late Show” Thursday night to give the polarizing real-estate mogul a chance to clear the air about his oft-lampooned “major” announcement about President Obama.
Earlier in the week, Trump appeared on “Fox and Friends” and announced that he would expose a major revelation about President Obama that could shake the outcome of the election. When Trump used his platform to offer $5 million to the charity of Obama’s choice if the incumbent would reveal his passport and college documents, the Internet nearly collapsed under the weight of the jokes at the Donald’s expense.
Seated next to David Letterman, though, Trump didn’t back off.
“I assume and I hope that his records are perfect,” Trump said. “He picks up $5 million for charity. Five million. From me. Immediate. Check written. I’d even go more, to be honest; there, you have a scoop.”
Letterman, who has been criticized of late for the perception that’s he sits too far to the left of the political spectrum to be objective, couldn’t resist playing along.
“What did I miss in this? Why do we want to see President Obama’s college records?” he asked.
“Transparency,” Trump replied. “Does that make sense to anybody? Seriously, transparency.”
Trump has taken a great deal of criticism for refusing to let go of the notion that Obama was not born in America and is therefore an illegitimate president. The president, for his part, made light of the situation during an appearance on “The Tonight Show,” when he joked to Jay Leno that Trump harbors a resentment toward him dating back to when the two grew up together in Africa and Trump constantly lost to Obama on the soccer field, according to E! Online.
Somehow missed in all of this are the attacks on Letterman. Conservative bloggers and columnists have attacked the “Late Show” host over the past few months for being too soft on Obama, seemingly forgetting that he’s the host of a comedy show.
One Breitbart columnist took Letterman to task for failing to attack President Obama for smoking marijuana as a young man.
“He’s a dedicated partisan who makes foolish statements like saying he pretends to follow the material. Instead, he’s simply using his media platform as an in-kind contribution to the re-election of Obama. The fact that he isn’t honest about that simple truth is a stain on his broadcast legacy.”
During an appearance on “Piers Morgan Tonight,” Letterman said he lets the criticism roll off his back and looks for the best way to make a joke.
“I know what your point is, and I have been guilty of appearing to be playing partisan politics,” he told guest host Regis Philbin. “However, I'd just like to say that for the record, I am a registered independent. You go where the material takes you. Poor Bill Clinton. No president that I'm aware of got hammered harder than Bill -- President Bill Clinton over the Monica Lewinsky situation. We beat up on him. We still use him as a reference. And then we were desperate. We thought, well this was so easy and then we got George Bush, and within a matter of days we realized our prayers had been answered, he's just as good in terms of material.”