Rivers, 47, takes issue with Trump’s controversial stance on immigration.
“I know Donald on such a different level. Do I agree with his comments? No. I don’t agree with what he said, but I do think he is very, very smart,” she told PEOPLE before a Q&A at Los Angeles’ Grammy Museum, which is currently featuring the exhibit “Joan Rivers: Can We Talk?”
Trump, 69, has been in the hot seat since giving what many are calling a racist portrayal of Mexican immigrants during his campaign speech, which led to his very public dismissal from NBC. That means The Celebrity Apprentice, which Rivers appeared on in 2009 with her mother, needs a new host. Joan went on to not only win the competition but also return for subsequent seasons.
“He is never anyone to be counted out nor taken lightly. He’s Donald Trump for a reason,” Rivers said. “He’s like a cat. He always lands on his feet.”
So who will Rivers cast her vote for come election day?
“Right now, I’m all about Hillary [Clinton],” she said. “And I don’t think anybody could get me off that track.”
In the meantime, Rivers has other things to focus on, namely her new gig as co-host of Fashion Police.
“We’re going to do things differently, but everything will be rooted in fashion and humor,” Rivers said about the direction the E! series will take. “The response to the announcement was so supportive and lovely, with everyone going ‘Well, duh! Finally!’ It makes me feel like I have support.”
“Having lost a parent before, I think I’m in the hardest part right now of realizing it’s real and there’s no going back and figuring out what is the new normal,” Rivers said. “No one can or ever will replace my mother as a comedian, as a writer, as a host, and for me, as my mother.”