Woody Harrelson: A 2002 Dinner With Trump Was 'So Brutal, He Had To Go Outside And Burn One'


In an interview with Esquire magazine, actor Woody Harrelson recounted a 2002 dinner he and his friend, former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura had with Donald Trump and his then-girlfriend, Melania. He remembers the evening as being so “brutal,” he had “to go outside and burn one.”


Esquire for the magazine’s September issue.

Harrelson describes the evening:

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?’

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. 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 said that, “having come up through Hollywood, he’s seen his fair share of narcissists, but Trump was beyond.” He continued:

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.

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, OK, yeah, that’s pretty cool.


When Harrelson was a freshman at Hanover College, he met Vice President Mike Pence who was a junior at that time.

He told Esquire that, “As a freshman, I gave a sermon to a youth group, and Mike was the guy running the show. 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 OK then.”

It doesn’t sound like Trump has changed much over the years. He is undeniably narcissistic, but how many presidents aren’t?

He also sets goals, determines how to go about achieving them and then acts decisively. Sometimes he wins and sometimes he loses, but he never stops trying. And America is lucky to have somebody with his initiative, his audacity and his tremendous energy.


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