During the conversation, Letterman emphasized the important role comedy plays in times like this, noting that "Alec Baldwin deserves a Presidential Medal of Freedom" for his mocking portrayal of the president on Saturday Night Live. He went on to explain that all comedians and late night hosts have an "obligation" to take on Trump, regardless of whether politics are typically in their wheelhouse.
And so it should come as no surprise that when addressing Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon's much-derided interview with Trump, in which Fallon tousled the then-Republican nominee's hair, Letterman wasn't nearly as flattering as he was to Baldwin.
"I know exactly what you're talking about with Jimmy Fallon. Jimmy got a fantastic viral clip out of that," Letterman said. "The comparison that comes to mind is during the Vietnam War, Johnny Carson had an unstated policy that he would never mention the war. He would talk about the personalities involved, but not the war. His theory was, with the six o'clock news, the last thing people wanted to hear more of was young Americans dying painfully."
When it was pointed out that that comparison doesn't necessarily apply to Fallon, Letterman added: "There is that obligation. We used to have a joke we'd do about booking guests: 'Guess what?' 'What?' 'Neil Armstrong is going to be on the show.' 'Neil Armstrong? That's fantastic.' 'He doesn't want to talk about the moon.' I don't want to criticize Jimmy Fallon, but I can only tell you what I would have done in that situation: I would have gone to work on Trump."