CNN: Bill Maher, host of HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher,” tells CNN’s Fareed Zakaria that President Trump just had his best week ever.
FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST: Let’s get right to my interview with Bill Maher. On his TV shows, first “Politically Incorrect” and now “Real Time,” Maher’s greatest singular ability to analyze American politics with great humor and great intelligence. We sat down on the Los Angeles set of “Real Time” which aired on HBO on Friday nights at 10:00 Eastern and Pacific. HBO and CNN are of course both owned by Warner Media. Bill Maher, pleasure to have you on. BILL MAHER, HOST, “REAL TIME”: Great always to be with you. ZAKARIA: So what do you think of this week for Donald Trump? MAHER: I thought it was his best week ever, and the most depressing week for me, as someone who is not a fan of Donald Trump and what he’s doing to this country. It was chilling. You know, I knew when he did the State of the Union address and he stuck to the prompters, which I was very surprised, but we have seen that before, Teleprompter Trump, and then Teletubby Trump is coming soon because, you know, I always say this man has a disease. Malignant narcissistic personality disorder. It’s a real thing. He could not help himself from doing that. It was going to come out. Whoever convinced him on Tuesday to stick to the prompter was very good because that’s hard for him. He had 100 off- ramps where he could have done what he usually does. There was no looking at the prompter, and then going so true. Like, you know, he’d never seen it before which is probably he doesn’t usually see it, but then Thursday was just horrible with these veiled threats, you know, Comey, we’re going to see what happens. People will be in jail, that language. ZAKARIA: And why do you think he never pays any price for that? MAHER: Because the worst thing that could possibly have happened, that we all feared and talked about, has happened. He’s normalized. Anything you see enough becomes normal. You don’t notice it. So he’s in a great position. The bad is baked into the cake. His fans either love it, because it’s trolling or it’s just him, and lots of other people are like, yes, I know that’s him, but, you know, we all know crazy people in our life. And some of them function, some of them are in our family. And you just sort of accept that. And every time you just this horrible jerk, I think a lot of people go, yes, but that’s part and parcel to be this strong leader, and he’s getting things done. And if you didn’t know the facts and you watched that State of the Union, it was very effective. And the showmanship, you know, that pulled out every stop, with the medals and the Marine being reunited. I mean, that’s what he does. And it’s going to be hard to beat. This is a superhero movie of my favorite kind. This is the moment when Superman is on the ground, you know, the kryptonite has weakened him. And I don’t know how we get to the end of the movie. I know in a superhero movie it happens because they always win, but this is life. I don’t know how we get from here, this week, to that place, November 3rd, where he’s defeated and leaves, which of course I don’t think he’s going to do. ZAKARIA: And how do you cover somebody who’s been normalized like that? Because surely part of the humor, you need people to feel outrage. MAHER: Yes. Well, I mean, it’s not hard to point out the myriad flaws he has and the crazy things he does. And it’s still fodder for comedy. I’m not worried about the comedy. There’s more comedy in this man than any six presidents. Presidents usually have one thing about them. You know, Bush was dumb, we said, and Clinton was horny, and Chris Christie is overweight. Whatever it is. This guy is everything. You know, he’s horny and he’s a racist, and he’s a criminal, and he’s fat, and he’s got crazy hair, and Stormy Daniels. It just never ends with this guy. So I’m not worried about the comedy. I’m worried about the country, and I don’t — you know, the other depressing thing about this week was, you know, at his best moment, the Democrats are — they just look like a gang who can’t shoot straight, who can’t run straight. And if they can’t get their act together soon, it’s going to be over before it begins. I mean, he won last time with nothing. And now he’s got money and, you know, he’s been president. And as I say he’s normalized to a lot of people. I saw 44 percent of Democrats saying Democrats are going to win. No, we can’t. ZAKARIA: One of the things that I was struck by, I had Jared Kushner on last week. MAHER: Yes, I know. ZAKARIA: And he said don’t forget 2 percent of the people who disapproved of Mitt Romney voted for him. 15 percent of the people who disapproved of Donald Trump voted for him in 2016. MAHER: Yes. ZAKARIA: In other words, I think people are forgetting that there are a lot of people who do think that Trump as a character, he is — you know, does lots of vulgar things that they wouldn’t approve of, but — MAHER: Yes. That’s just — ZAKARIA: When it’s time to vote — MAHER: That’s just him. You know, and he is authentic in that way. You know, he’s authentically an A-hole. You know, and people — in an age that’s absent facts and a lot of education, authenticity rules the day. That’s why Bernie Sanders also does so well. He’s authentic. People know that he — I think that’s why he wound up ahead of Elizabeth Warren. We saw her for a long period of time and she came off looking less authentic than he is. ZAKARIA: You know, those moments where, if you remember Justin Trudeau, the Canadian prime minister, was caught sort of making fun of Trump. And they asked Trump about it the next day. And Trump was completely honest in the sense of saying, yes, I thought he was a two- faced, you know. MAHER: Yes. ZAKARIA: That to me gets at Trump’s authenticity where he’s not pretending to be — MAHER: No. ZAKARIA: He doesn’t play president. He makes this point in his campaign. I am the real thing. You have seen the real thing. MAHER: Yes. He never makes a concession to what somebody else wants him to be. And I keep saying here that in an age where everything is completely binary, you’re either red team or blue ahead, everything that a blue players does goes in the blue bin. And then everybody on the blue team has to answer for that. So Trump doesn’t have to be popular. Listen to what he always says. You have no choice. You have to vote for me, because he’s saying, yes, you may not like me, I may be crude and vulgar and horrible, but they’re crazy. And there’s a lot of stuff in that blue bin that is crazy. And people read it every week, just these things, these too far out, left wokey stuff, and you know, Obama said it, just people are just looking for — don’t do crazy stuff. Don’t say crazy stuff. Because we all get tagged with it. And then they go, yes, I don’t like Trump, but he’s right, I’ve got to vote for him. They’re nuts.