WATCH: That Time Randall Cunningham Interviewed Donald Trump
“Donald Trump: Businessman. Billionaire. Ladies’ man. Celebrity. And, believe it or not, big sports fan!”
The year was 1992. Despite having one of the greatest defenses of all time, the Eagles had still missed the playoffs the previous year. But this season was looking up: The Eagles would get back QB Randall Cunningham, lost for the season in the opener the previous year. And Randall was ready: He spent the offseason endorsing a candy bar (all proceeds went to charity), working on a game show pilot (Scramble), and, most importantly, hosting an interview special on Channel 10 called Randall Cunningham’s Celebrity Rap.
In the special, Cunningham interviewed a number of celebrities, including one who’d later go on to be president of these United States: Donald Trump! It opens with the quote above from Randall Cunningham, as well as footage of Trump showing off to Cunningham by handing him some trophy Trump got from Jim Kelly. Sure, why not?
It is very weird, and not just because the legendary scrambling Eagles quarterback is interviewing a then-casino magnate who would become president 25 years later. In his book about the Eagles’ 1992 season, Bringing the Heat, Mark Bowden called it “one of the all-time truly great suck-up interviews with best friend Donald Trump.”
Here are some highlights:
- Cunningham opening question is shot with a filter that makes it look like closed-circuit security footage; this repeats throughout the interview.
- Trump confidently predicts that Cunningham will return from the knee injury that cost him almost all the 1991 season. He was right! Cunningham completed 61 percent of his passes, and the Eagles went 11-5 and won a playoff game for the first time in a decade.
- Cunningham says Trump has a “can-do attitude.” He predicted the “grab ’em by the pussy” tape!
- Trump says when he went to collect rent from tenants when just starting out in real estate, there were frequently bullet holes in the doors of the apartments he owned.
- When the Trump Taj Mahal is shown, music from Star Wars plays briefly.
- Cunningham: “Despite recent reports of a negative cash flow at his casino, Donald claims they’re doing just fine. He’s even doing his own commercials.” (The Taj filed for a prepackaged bankruptcy in 1991; the Trump Plaza went bankrupt in 1992.)
- Trump says he’s close friends with Michael Jackson, and calls him a “brilliant guy.”
- Trump: “I walked through the casino with Michael Jackson. There were young women who got on the tables and jumped over the security guys, who were 6-foot-7 tall, and landed on our heads … truthfully, it was actually dangerous. There was a possibility of death.”
- Trump dismisses Mike Tyson’s rape conviction: “I just feel so bad about what’s happened to Mike. I feel also very bad that a woman is allowed to go knock on his door at 1 o’clock in the morning and then dance at 8 o’clock in the morning and then claim that she’s raped … I’m just not convinced. It’s really destroyed the life of somebody who, if he could get his act together, would be an incredible role model.”
- Much like he does now, Donald Trump commented on the media! “The press can hurt you and they can hurt your feelings, but it doesn’t destroy — because it’s still yesterday’s paper.”
- At this point, I realize Cunningham kisses up to Trump more than I’ve seen anyone kiss up to anybody.
- There’s an extended discussion of Marla Maples’s role in The Will Rogers Follies, where she played Ziegfeld’s favorite chorus girl. The interview is interrupted by a clip of Maury Povich talking about Maples’s debut performance in 1992.
- Cunningham: “I just want to know: How many pairs of shoes does Marla have?”
Trump: “For a while, I was calling her Imelda Marcos. I was just buying her shoes every day.”
- Trump says if you don’t have any money, you can still be like Donald Trump by working really hard. Okay.
If you hadn’t guessed, Randall Cunningham’s Celebrity Rap won a local Emmy for talk program, one-time only.
Thanks to Mike Tunison for finding this.