It’s hardly a secret that Stephen Colbert is no fan of Donald Trump, but the host of Global‘s “The Late Show” takes his criticism of the president to a whole new level — a religious one — in an extensive interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper.
In a clip from the interview, which aired on Thursday, Colbert sat down with the “Anderson Cooper 360°” host. During the expansive conversation, Colbert opened up about what it’s like to do his late-night talk show in the age of Trump, and how he views the president through the lens of his Catholic faith.
“You called President Trump — I think a heretic…” Cooper asks Colbert.
“Heretic to reality,” Colbert clarifies, explaining, “Because as you know, as a raised Catholic — you know, the greatest sin is actually heresy, because not only are you astray from the right path, you’re inviting, you’re encouraging other people to come with you on that path. So specifically heresy is, like, proselytizing for the devil.”
“And the punishment for heretics is sorta the most extreme,” replies Cooper.
“I think it’s red hot iron coffins in Dante’s Inferno,” Colbert quips, continuing by sharing his theory that Trump “wants to live in a fantasy world where the way he perceives the world is the way it is, and only the things that sort of serve his vision. And he’s also trying to convince us that that is the only world that exists.”
Adds Colbert: “It’s extremely solipsistic. But he’s also trying to invite us into this madness that he has, and that’s heresy against reality. That is proselytizing for the most selfish and the basest instincts that the American people, like all people, have. But he is not appealing to the better angels of our nature.”
Colbert and Cooper also shared a frank discussion on grief, as both men experienced extreme loss at an early age (Colbert was 10 when his father and two of his brothers died in a plane crash, while Cooper was the same age when his older brother took his own life).
The CNN anchor asked the late-night host about comments he made on learning to “love the thing that I most wish had not happened.”
Cooper continued: “You went on to say, ‘What punishments of God are not gifts?’ Do you really believe that?”
“Yes,” Colbert replied. “It’s a gift to exist and with existence comes suffering. There’s no escaping that.”
You can watch the interview in two parts below: