In a recent interview with Esquire Magazine, actor Woody Harrelson described a dinner he had with Donald Trump and his then-girlfriend Melania in the early 2000s. While he slams the future president, unlike many of his Hollywood peers, the “Zombieland” actor doesn’t revert to political virtue-signaling. Instead, Harrelson just does what he always does: calls it like he sees it in plain language.
According to Harrelson, he once sat down for an intimate dinner with Trump and his then-girlfriend Melania around 2002 at the behest of his good friend, former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura.
“So, Jesse Ventura is a buddy of mine, and he called me up — and this is in, oh, 2002 — and said, ‘Donald Trump is going to try to convince me to be his running mate for the Democratic ticket in 2004. Will you be my date?’” Harrelson said, as highlighted by Fox News.
Harrelson recalled how he eventually grew impatient during the dinner as Trump just filibustered the conversation, hijacking every moment, leaving little room for others to speak. Harrelson referred to this as a “monologue monopoly.”
“I said, ‘Yeah, man.’ So we all met at Trump Tower, sat down. Melania was there, only she wasn’t his wife yet. And it was, let me tell you, a brutal dinner,” said the actor. “Two and a half hours. The fun part was watching Jesse’s moves. It would look like Trump had him pinned, was going to get him to say yes, and then Jesse would slip out at the last second. Now, at a fair table with four people, each person is entitled to 25 percent of the conversation, right? I’d say Melania got about 0.1 percent, maybe. I got about 1 percent. And the governor, Jesse, he got about 3 percent. Trump took the rest. It got so bad I had to go outside and burn one before returning to the monologue monopoly.”
Harrelson just described the situation as he experienced it, keeping it free of politics. At one point, he remembered how Trump referenced the fact that his kids will fight over his wealth when he passes away.
“Listen, I came up through Hollywood, so I’ve seen narcissists. This guy was beyond. It blew my mind. He did say one thing that was interesting, though. He said, ‘You know, I’m worth four billion dollars,’ or maybe he said five billion dollars — one of those numbers, I forget,” continued Harrelson. “Anyway, he said, ‘I’m worth, however many billion dollars. But when I die, no matter how much it is, I know my kids are going to fight over it.’ That was the one true statement he made that night, and I thought, ‘Okay, yeah, that’s pretty cool.'”
Harrelson also talked about an experience when he was a freshman in college he had with Mike Pence, who he recalled as being a “sincere” person. “As a freshman, I gave a sermon to a youth group, and Mike was the guy running the show,” he said. “He was a junior, I think … He struck me as a nice guy, very sincere. I don’t know how well we’d get along now, but we got along okay then.”
Harrelson has often taken a less partisan approach to politics than most of his peers. In an interview with Politico in 2013, for instance, he described himself as an “anarchist,” with no appreciation for Republicans or Democrats, and even compared President Obama to President Nixon.
“It’s all synchronized swimming to me. They all kneel and kiss the ring,” Harrelson said of politicians. “Who’s going to take on the oil industry or the medical industry?”
At the time, Harrelson compared President Obama’s escalation of the war in Afghanistan to President Nixon’s escalation in Vietnam. “People compare Obama to Lyndon Johnson, but I think a better comparison is between Obama and Nixon,” he said. “Because Nixon came into office saying he was going to pull out of Vietnam, and then he escalated the war. A lot of us were led to believe that Obama was the peace president, but there are still, I think, 70,000 troops in Afghanistan.”