Other late-night hosts have pretended to get phone calls from Donald Trump, but on Tuesday night Stephen Colbert became the first to actually interview the candidate over the phone on CBS’s Late Show.
Trump teased the appearance on Twitter earlier in the afternoon—first mistakenly telling his followers that Colbert’s show is on ABC—and he kept his promise. During Colbert’s monologue, the GOP front-runner called into a dedicated line on a bright orange phone that rang with the ringtone: “Trump, Trump.”
Speaking from Colbert’s home state of South Carolina, Trump convinced the host it was really him by saying his catchphrase, “You’re fired.” He proceeded to heap praise on Colbert prompting the host to deliver the same line he used on Antonin Scalia the night before: “Don’t make me love you, old man.”
Colbert began by grilling Trump on his “potty mouth.” And when Trump said that he decided to stop using bad language when he started running for office, Colbert proved to him that that is not, in fact, the case. “These are very minor words,” Trump insisted.
“I’ve got a suggestion,” Colbert said. “Why don’t you have a swear jar, and every time you say a bad word you put $1 billion in it?”
From there, Colbert moved on to the Scalia situation, asking Trump if he were in the last year of his term as president and a Supreme Court justice died, wouldn’t he want the right to appoint a replacement?
“I guess I’d put in a name,” Trump said, but added that the Senate has the right not to even vote on that nominee. “Whoever the next president is should be the one that picks the next Supreme Court justice,” he asserted.
“So you would let someone tell you what to do?” Colbert asked. “This is sounding less like Donald Trump.”
Before he let Trump get back to his South Carolina campaign duties, Colbert encouraged the candidate to deliver a “very convincing,” “Please vote for me, y’all” to Southern voters.
The TV show call-in has become a staple of Trump’s campaign, but not every host has accepted those one-sided terms. Last summer, Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace explained why he refused to let Trump call into his show.
“The idea you would do a phoner with a presidential candidate where they have all the control and you have none, where you can’t see them, they may have talking points in from of them,” Wallace said. “We are not a call-in radio show, we are a Sunday talk show and he is a presidential candidate—do an interview on camera.”
Colbert had an on-camera interview with Trump last September, but the whole affair was surprisingly tame. He even apologized to the candidate for all the “unforgivable” things he’s said about him in the past. In this case, the distance provided by the phone may have allowed Colbert to take harder swings at Trump than he was willing to do in person.