Left-wing late-night host Stephen Colbert offered yet another guest a chance to trash Trump on Friday and actor John Leguizamo was more than willing to play his part. But things got awkward pretty quick.
In a moment highlighted by Newsbusters, Leguizamo visited with Colbert on Friday to discuss his role in Oprah’s “When They See Us” focusing on “the Central Park Five,” the five young minority males wrongly convicted for the assault and rape of Trisha Meili, whose murderer, Matias Reyes, eventually confessed in 2002 to raping and killing Meili on his own. The five were also found guilty of two other assaults that took place in the park.
The film referenced the much-maligned ad then-real estate developer Donald Trump put out in The New York Times in 1989 a few days after the young men were charged calling for officials to “Bring Back the Death Penalty. Bring Back Our Police!” “I want to hate these muggers and murderers,” he wrote. “They should be forced to suffer and, when they kill, they should be executed for their crimes.”
Asked in June if he’d apologize for putting out the ad, Trump refused. “You have people on both sides of that. They admitted their guilt,” he said in reference to their initial confessions, which were contradictory and which they retracted within a few days. “If you look at Linda Fairstein, and if you look at some of (the) prosecutors, they think that the city should never have settled that case. So we’ll leave it at that.”
Colbert made sure to make Trump’s ad, which appears in Oprah’s film, a key part of his discussion with Leguizamo. Trump “notoriously put out a pull page, $85,000, full page ad in The New York Times, I believe,” Colbert noted (transcript via NB).
“Asking for the death penalty to come back to execute these children. I mean who does that?” Leguizamo replied. “Who takes out, spends their money, wanting to execute children? … He didn’t even know the facts. He didn’t know anything.”
“And they have since been exonerated, and he won’t take that back,” Colbert replied.
“No. He doubled down. He doubled down on going, well they must have done something,” said Leguizamo.
“After having done this and having met these people and getting this perspective on the president, how are you feeling about him these days?” asked Colbert.
That’s when the thus-far rather heavy conversation took an unexpected turn.
“He makes me so angry, he makes me horny,” said Leguizamo.
When Colbert, taken aback, asked for a little clarificaiton, Leguizamo said, “That rage.”
“I’m sorry, you gotta back up,” said Colbert. “I did not quite follow the logic of that.”
“You know when you’ve got all this rage in your body, and it turns into testosterone and you gotta let it out somehow?” Leguizamo explained. “Love trumps hate.”
“Love trumps hate?” asked Colbert.
“Yeah, I procreate,” said the actor.
“You procreate? That’s your opposition to the president?” asked Colbert.
“Yeah, it helps me unplug. … My poor wife,” Leguizamo said, adding, “I’m gonna make a little army of Latin people that will be like the worst thing that he could ever have to deal with.”
In its fact-check of Trump’s comments last month about the Central Park Five, PolitiFact provides a summary of the case, which reads in part (formatting adjusted):
In the early hours of April 20, 1989, a 29-year-old woman jogger was found badly beaten and raped in Central Park. On the night of the crime, police had responded to a group of about 30 teens threatening people in the park. A racing bike rider was accosted. A taxi driver reported rocks thrown at his cab. Two men, in separate incidents, were assaulted and injured and one of them was robbed. Ultimately, five young men, ages 14 to 16, were questioned by police and later charged with the beating and rape of the woman.
In their first hours with police, the young men offered a mix of confessions. The details from each did not align with the accounts from the others. They identified different individuals who actually committed the rape. They did not agree on where the attack took place. Their statements failed to match the physical evidence from the scene, including the woman’s clothing. Importantly, none of them confessed to the rape itself. They soon retracted their confessions. […]
After a trial in which they maintained their innocence, the five teens were convicted of rape and assault. No physical or forensic evidence connected them to the attack on the jogger. The prosecution’s case “rested almost entirely on the statements made by the defendants,” as the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office said in a later filing.
In addition to the attack on the woman, they were found guilty of two other assaults in the park. Four of them spent seven years in prison. A fifth served 13 years — until 2002 [when Reyes confessed].