Over the past few months, Stephen Colbert has had some fun with Donald Trump‘s headlines-grabbing presidential campaign, from overdosing on Trump jokes to daring the GOP frontrunner to donate $1 million to charity to disguising Jon Stewart as the mogul. However, in a new interview with Face the Nation set to air Sunday, Colbert admitted that he admires how Trump’s campaign has shifted the balance of power in the Republican party.
“There’s a populism to Trump that I found very appealing,” Colbert said. “The party elders would like him to go away but the people have decided that he is not going to. I may disagree with anything that he’s saying and think that his proposals are a little … well, more than a little shocking. But there is something really hopeful about the fact that, well, 36 percent of the likely voters want him so the people in the machine don’t get to say otherwise. That’s the one saving grace, I think, of his candidacy.”
As 2016 approaches and Trump’s GOP lead continues to swell, Colbert also confessed that his earlier boast that there was no way Trump could ever win the White House was shortsighted. “What I do respect is that he knows that it is an emotional appeal, and it might be emotional appeals that I can’t respect, but he knows that you have to appeal to the voter. And that’s why, I may be wrong – I made a big deal about there’s no way he’s gonna win,” Colbert said before conceding, “I don’t know anything about politics.”
At a press event before Colbert took the helm of The Late Show, the former Colbert Report host was asked about Trump’s presidential odds. “Honestly, he could, and that’s not an opinion of Trump. That’s my opinion of our nation,” Colbert said. “You know what, there have been some great presidents and there have been some bad presidents. Having a giant swinging set of balls isn’t the worst thing in the world.”