Zombieland and The Hunger Games star Woody Harrelson is telling the story of when he went to dinner with Donald Trump and Jesse "The Body" Ventura in 2002, and it sounds just as awkward as you would expect. Apparently, at the time, Trump was pondering the idea of running for president and wanted to meet with Ventura to speak about politics.
As the two were friends, Ventura invited Harrelson to come along, and perhaps not knowing what he was getting into, the actor agreed. According to Harrelson, the result was basically the future president hogging the majority of the conversation, leaving the others with barely a chance to speak. Apparently, things got so bad Harrelson wound up sneaking outside to smoke a joint to get himself through the rest of the experience.
"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."
Of course, Trump would eventually take the idea of running for president a step further by actually doing so in 2016. For better or for worse, the Celebrity Apprentice host defeated Hillary Clinton in the general election that year to officially become the 45th president of the United States. His campaign has been generating controversy nonstop ever since, with Trump especially receiving constant criticism for his perceived narcissism. This is very much in line with Harrelson's description of Trump's behavior on the night they had dinner, which at least makes for an interesting story even if it was a bit painful for the actor to sit through.
As we all know, Jesse The Body Ventura was ultimately not named as Trump's vice president, with Mike Pence filling in that role instead. Oddly enough, Harrelson also revealed he's previously had a run-in with the current VP as well. Apparently, both had attended Hanover College when they crossed paths many years ago, although the situation was not nearly as awkward as the Trump dinner. When Harrelson gave a sermon to a youth group, Pence was the guy running the show, but there were no problems between the two. "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," Harrelson says of Pence.
On the movie side of things, Harrelson is gearing up for a return to the big screen this fall in the sequel Zombieland 2: Double Tap. Released almost ten years to the day after the release of the original movie, the sequel brings back Harrelson along with co-stars Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin, and Jesse Eisenberg. Because Zombieland is one of the most beloved zombie movies ever made, there's obviously a lot of excitement surrounding the sequel. When the movie is released in theaters on Oct. 18, 2019, it will more than likely be another hit for the veteran actor.
The president may or may not respond to Harrelson's story of the bizarre double date with the Trumps and Jesse Ventura. It's not uncommon for Trump to take shots at actors, comedians, and other celebrities who've said less than flattering things about him in the past. Trump might call Harrelson's story "fake news," but that's still probably less awkward than sitting through the dinner as described by Harrelson. Harrelson's words come from the September issue of Esquire and were transcribed by TheHill.