Jay Leno Tells Us Why He Thinks Donald Trump Is Dangerous
Our favorite car show host doesn’t hold back during The Drive’s exclusive interview.
A pre-emptive note to the commenters: Yes, we’re a car site. No, we don’t typically cover politics, but when you have Jay Leno, one of the biggest car guys in the world, one who interviews gearheads - including politicians - we’d be remiss not to ask him about the presumed Republican Presidential nominee. Particularly after Leno said he’d never want to interview Trump.
Leno was in town yesterday to promote the premiere of the second season of Jay Leno’s Garage on CNBC. After a flurry of pleading emails to Leno’s publicist, we were kindly granted fifteen minutes to chat. In person, Leno is as nice and as chill as you’d expect. He plopped into a chair beside me and asked what it was like to live in New York City and still be a car guy. “You need room to run. That’s why I like Los Angeles,” he smiled. “Is it hard finding good roads around here?” Sure is, but we make do. Our small talk shifted to his show and what’s on tap for the upcoming season. Leno told us to expect a drag race between Vice President Joe Biden and former Secretary of State Colin Powell that was so intense “the Secret Service wanted to slow Biden down.” Leno also weighed on about the revamped Top Gear, told us why he doesn’t like SUVs and crossovers, and some mishaps and crashes that we’ll be seeing in the coming months.
Then I mentioned his anti-Trump statements. “I’m not interested in [Trump],” Leno doubled down. Even if he became President, would Leno have him on his show? “Look, I grew up in an era where Clinton was horny, Bush was dumb and Gore was a robot. With the Tonight Show and politicians, I never questioned their motives. Only their judgment. I never believed that anyone was truly evil. I just think they made mistakes,” Leno replied.
“It’s fascinating to watch history repeat itself. To me, the bravest republican is Mitt Romney. He talked about [Trump’s] ‘trickle down racism’ and how it’s going to make a nation of bullies. I give Romney a lot of credit. He’s a Republican but he thinks [Trump] is bad for Republicans. And he’s willing to speak up about it. And so do I. The day after the attack in Orlando, patting yourself on the back, ‘I knew this would happen.’ Well, good for you. I find that so distasteful.”
“Questioning if our president is sympathetic or not; it’s so dangerous and outlandish. I don’t want any part of it. I don’t want to interview [Trump] and I don’t want to give him a platform. He knows how to talk and hit his talking points and you’re not going to derail that. I don’t want to help him get his messages out there,” Leno said. Wanting to end on a high note, I said as much, to which Leno replied, “That was a high note. I’m glad I got to say that.” Watch the full interview below.