“I’ve known Donald Trump for 35 years and I was shocked that he was elected. I think he was shocked that he was elected.”
The irrepressible 83-year-old Larry King was speaking on the phone in his trademark staccato delivery, with a still-prominent New York accent despite having relocated to California decades ago.
“We’ve spent many hours together and I’ve interviewed him probably at least 30 times. And I consider him a friend of mine. But I did not vote for him – I told him that,” added King.
“I always thought that he was a moderate liberal, and he’s disappointed me with some of the things he’s doing. I always thought he was for the single parent, equal rights for women, pro-choice.”
The veteran journalist, known for his trademark suspenders and tenacious interview style, will have the tables turned on him when he’s honored at the Jerusalem Post Conference in New York on May 7 with a Lifetime Achievement award for his decades-spanning career of journalistic excellence. Editor-in-chief Yaakov Katz will present the award and query King on his life, his views of his Judaism and Israel and the world leaders he has met and interviewed.
King, who began his career in Florida in the 1960s, rose to prominence in the 1970s with an all-night national radio show in the US. He catapulted to international fame when he joined CNN in 1985 and began hosting his popular nightly interview program, which continued until 2010.
In 2012, King launched his own web series in a similar vein to his CNN show, called Larry King Now. The web series is available on Ora TV, Hulu and RT America. Returning to Trump, King said he was confused by the president’s recent offensives in Syria and Afghanistan.
“I think the Syrian response was correct, but I don’t know what the policy is now. The relationship between the US and Russia is strained. I’ve interviewed [Vladimir] Putin twice and I think that he’s a tough and challenging leader. He certainly wanted Trump to win, but I don’t know if he’s disappointed in that now. I don’t know what to make of the Trump-Putin relationship, I don’t understand it.
“Overall, the Trump presidency is a tough read. Day to day, everything changes. It’s almost like, ‘Who did he talk to last?’ I’d say it’s an up-in-the-air presidency that shows his lack of political experience.”
Despite his skeptical outlook on Trump, King said that he would like to see Trump achieve results in efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“It would be very nice to see if he can bring his negotiating skills to the Middle East. He couldn’t negotiate our healthcare, but I want him to succeed. I hope he can bring the sides together,” he…