Donald Trump Talks Going From Joke Candidate to Republican Front-Runner, Name-Checks Steve Burke on 'Tonight Show'

Douglas Gorenstein/NBC
Donald Trump on Friday's 'Tonight Show'

The real-estate mogul continued to crusade against the Iran deal, criticize Hillary Clinton and make nice with Carly Fiorina while Jimmy Fallon asked about some of Trump's surprising tactics.

It was all about Donald Trump on Friday's Tonight Show, where the Republican front-runner made his first late-night appearance as a presidential candidate.

In addition to joining Jimmy Fallon as his first guest, Trump showed he could poke fun at himself in a mirror sketch with the host, and Fallon referenced Trump a few times in his monologue and subsequent remarks at his desk, joking at one point that the show should be retitled The Tonight Show Starring Donald Trump with Special Appearance by Jimmy Fallon. Fallon also thanked Trump in his Friday night "Thank you notes" segment.

When Trump sat down for his interview with Fallon, the Republican presidential candidate used the opportunity to deliver a bit of a stump speech, crusading against the Iran deal and pushing for VA reform as he said the country has to "become rich again" and "great again." He also talked about his growing popularity, recalling the tremendous turnout he had at stadium events in Dallas and Alabama, an answer so long-winded that when Trump was finished Fallon wondered aloud, "What question did I ask?"

Fallon opened the interview, taking place on the night of the 14th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, by asking Trump about what the tragic day means to him.

Trump said he thinks about the "strength" and "resilience" of New York City and how the city and country "came back."

Fallon then pointed out that in the nearly 15 years since the attacks, he's hosting The Tonight Show and Trump is the leading Republican presidential candidate.

"When did this happen?" he asked.

"Something happened to both of us … something's going on," Trump said.

Fallon also said that while Trump has gone from a joke candidate, with him not even believing Trump was serious about running when he announced it, to people taking his run more seriously, the perception of Hillary Clinton as a White House shoo-in has changed a bit.

Trump used this opportunity to bash Clinton, saying "She's had a very, very bad time…I've never seen anything like it."

The two also talked about CNN's upcoming debate, with Trump again urging the network to donate its profits from the telecast to U.S. veterans. But Fallon was more interested in how Trump can participate in debates without reading from prepared notes.

"Do you just make up stuff?" Fallon asked.

Trump said his notes are all in his head: "I'm blessed with a great memory. … If you're reading or if you have teleprompters … or even looking down all the time at notes, you're not going to get the reaction from the crowd … When you get it right, it's a thing of beauty."

He also repeated what he told The Hollywood Reporter that he would only apologize if he was wrong on something. For example, he talked about the criticism he received after his controversial immigration comments during his campaign announcement, saying "I took such heat," but insisted he was "right," an assertion that drew a smattering of boos from the audience.

It was at this question that Trump claimed Fallon wasn't asking the pre-discussed questions, and Fallon said he wasn't.

"I'm like you now; I don't use teleprompters," the host shot back as the crowd roared, with Fallon crumpling up a piece of paper on his desk, presumably with the prepared questions on it.

In a lightning round, Trump noted that his wall between the U.S. and Mexico could be called Trump Wall and responded to Fallon's prompt to say something nice about Carly Fiorina with, "I think she's a very nice woman."

Fallon ended the interview by offering an alternate song for Trump to use after Neil Young and R.E.M. objected to him using their music. The host played DJ Khaled's "All I Do Is Win," bouncing around in his chair to the music.

Trump: "Honestly, it happens to be 100 percent true."

Trump also stuck around to do some affiliate promos with Fallon, during which the host told his guest, and the audience, that due to the equal-time rule, they can only show his face for four seconds.

Trump: "Can you believe that? We have to talk to [NBCUniversal CEO] Steve Burke."

 

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