Fran Lebowitz Apologizes After Telling Bill Maher U.S. Should Give Donald Trump To Saudis Who Killed Khashoggi

Lisa de Moraes

Fran Lebowitz said she regrets that “everyone misinterpreted” her comment onb Bill Maher’s Real Time Friday night, when she suggested the U.S. turn President Donald Trump “over to the Saudis, his buddies – the same Saudis who got rid of that reporter.”

“Maybe they could do the same for him,” she told Maher, who had asked if she favored impeaching the president.

Related stories

Peter Bart: Network News Divisions Look To Upfronts For Support Amid Declining Viewership And Trump's Media War

Lebowitz apologized later in the show, after producers alerted Maher her remark had triggered “blowback” on Twitter.

“I saw your face when I said it,” she told Maher. “I didn’t realize that I had said it. I had 12 cups of coffee. I regret saying it,” Lebowitz said after the broadcast, during on the online-only ‘Overtime’ segment HBO presents via YouTube.

“It’s a live show,” Maher sighed. “You don’t really want to see the president dismembered by the Saudis. I don’t like Donald Trump either…NO matter who the president is we do not want physical harm.”

“I did not mean that and I regret saying it,” she said, clarifying, “I regret that everyone misinterpreted it.”


Before Twitter erupted, Lebowitz told Maher that Dem 2020 frontrunners Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders should have their car keys taken away from them.

Pete Buttigieg, meanwhile, is mayor of a town that has fewer residents than the building she lives in.

Informing his studio audience that opening guest Lebowitz is the smartest person he knows, Maher kicked off their sit-down asking her to solve his Trump “dilemma.”  He doesn’t want to devote all his time to our current POTUS, but doesn’t want to ignore the problem.

“Are you asking me if I’m sick of thinking about Donald Trump?” Lebowitz shot back. “You cannot IMAGINE how sick I am of thinking about Donald Trump.”

“On the other hand, I want to say, thinking about him doesn’t really require thought. It’s more I’m plagued by him,” she confided to Maher’s Real Time crowd. “Like having a chronic ailment you try to ignore.”

Mahrer said Robert Mueller’s report depressed him; Lebowitz said she wasn’t so much.

“I didn’t have the highest hopes for the Mueller report, only because I remembered Robert Mueller was a Republican and he was the head of the FBI so I didn’t think he was the second coming of Thurgood Marshall as many people seemed to imagine,” she explained.

“The most youthful thing about me is, I retain an ability to be shocked by these people,” she joked. “So, I was shocked by [Attorney General Bill] Barr. It’s a criminal thing that he did, that he would rewrite the thing and give you a completely false idea what was in it, and then stop anyone from finding out anything about it,” she described, of Barr’s handling of the Mueller Report.

Asked whether Trump should be impeached, Lebowitz insisted “Impeachment would be just the beginning of what he deserves.” That’s when she suggested we turn him over to “the Saudis, his buddies – the same Saudis who got rid of” WaPo columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

“Maybe they could do the same for him,” she had said, opening the program.

Who does the sardonic wit sometimes compared to Dorothy Parker favor for 2020?

“Elizabeth Warren,” she said, without hesitation. “Because she’s very smart.”

“Everyone thinks Pete Buttigieg is the smartest, because he want to Harvard and Oxford,” she said. But she knows any number of people who went to those schools, who aren’t smart – just lucky.

She acknowledged, a lot of her friends like Mayor Pete because “he’s gay, he’s mayor of South Bend, that’s adorable.”

“More people live in my building than in South Bend. Indiana,” she quipped, suggesting Buttigieg “do something first” and then run for the White House.

How about current frontrunner, former Veep Joe Biden, Mahrer asked.

“I never liked Joe Biden,” she shot back. “I know this is against the law. I never ever forgot the Anita Hill hearings. I hated him from that second. I always hated him.”

But she’d vote for him over Trump, added, not being like all those Dems who said they would not vote for Hillary Clinton in 2016 because they did not “like” her.

“That’s okay; you’re not going to meet her,” Lebowitz told Maher she had advised during that election cycle.

She’s also no fan of Bernie Sanders.

“They’re both too old to be president,” she said simply.

“Shut the fuck up!” Maher barked at his studio audience, as they chuckled approvingly of Lebowitz’s remark. “That is such a prejudice!”

Lebowitz was having none of it.

“Let me tell you something: these guys are too old to drive!” she dug in.  “If you were their son, you’d be plotting to take away their keys.”

Responded Maher: “Maybe you’re going to be decrepit in your 70s but I don’t plan on it.”

Fran had him there:

“No one plans on it, Bill. I never planned to be this age. I thought, ’25, that’s my age!’”

A president should be in their 50s, she insisted.

Why?

“You look relatively fine, and you’re going to know everything you’re gonna know. After that, you start to forget.”

Mahrer began talking of “blue zones” where people routinely live to be 100. “It’s how you treat yourself” that makes the difference, he insisted, not your age.

Horseradish, Lebowitz responded, assuring him she would not live to be 100. “I can afford to live about seven more weeks.”

Sign up for Deadline's Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.