Stephen Colbert isn't sure Trump could replace Jeff Sessions, can't believe he's bringing up Puerto Rico's death toll
Stephen Colbert was impressed with The Weather Channel's terrifying new graphics for Hurricane Florence, less impressed with President Trump's tweets about Puerto Rico's hurricanes last year. "Folks, if you watch this show, you know we kid the president about being a terrible person, but in reality, it is much worse than we could have imagined," he said on Thursday's Late Show. He read Trump's tweets about the Hurricane Maria death toll being massively inflated to harm him politically, noting that "not only is this a sickening tweet, it is in no way true."
The estimated number of deaths — 2,975 U.S. citizens — came from a government-commissioned study by researchers from George Washington University, and while it might be politically damaging, it would probably have been buried under all the other Trump-related news if Trump hadn't tweeted about it, Colbert said. "It was kind of like he was on trial for littering and said on the stand: 'I only threw that cup out of my window because I was distracted by the homeless man I ran over. Pretty sure he died of old age, okay? Democrats pushed him in front of my car.'"
Speaking of chaos, Republicans think Trump is going to fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions soon, but they also don't believe anyone could get confirmed to replace him and, in any case, no Republican wants the job, Colbert said, reading some responses. And meanwhile, the Trump Organization's former VP of construction just told a story in a New York Daily News op-ed about Trump ordering the Trump Tower architect to (illegally) get rid of Braille in the elevators, reportedly yelling: "No blind people are going to live in Trump Tower." Maybe, "but if you've seen Trump tower, I'm pretty sure blind people decorated it," Colbert joked. "You'd think Trump would love Braille — it's like reading through groping." Watch below. Peter Weber
Stephen Colbert has some words for Trump over his self-praise on Puerto Rico's deadly Hurricane Maria
Stephen Colbert started off Tuesday's Late Show by urging everyone near the coast in Virginia, North Carolina, and his home state of South Carolina to be prepared for Hurricane Florence, a Category 4 monster that President Trump accurately but oddly described as "tremendously big and tremendously wet." That's true, Colbert said, making an off-color joke, and Trump "respectfully didn't make the whole thing about himself — for almost a minute. Then he reminded everybody what a great job he did with the last hurricane." The one in Puerto Rico. Where almost 3,000 people died. Colbert had a slightly rude, very brief song for Trump.
"Now, if you're in Washington, D.C., there's another serious weather event headed your way," Colbert said, "and I'll tell you all about it in tonight's 'Stormy Watch.'" The Stormy Daniels saga "has been on pause for a while" as Michael Cohen attended to "some personal business of pleading guilty to a felony," he said, but it's back in the news because Cohen and Trump are waiving the hush agreement and asking for their $130,000 back. There are some slightly risqué jokes as he explained the details.
Trump is apparently using his business background to push NASA to sell naming rights to rockets and spacecraft, Colbert said, not impressed with the idea. He imagined how the moon landing might have gone if 1960s NASA had inked sponsorship deals.
Finally, Colbert chastised Jeopardy host Alex Trebek's "cheap Canadian knockoff of the Colbeard," and challenged Trebek to a trivia contest, the loser of which would have to shave. Watch below. Peter Weber
At a rally in Montana on Thursday, President Trump "had a few choice words about the anonymous author of the infamous op-ed," Stephen Colbert said on Monday's Late Show. "Unfortunately, he could only pronounce several of those words." But at the same rally where he had trouble with "anonymous," Trump "was upstaged by an audience member" wearing a plaid shirt and pulling some expressive faces, he said, showing the footage. "Now this is true, they kicked him out of the rally — because that kid did something you should never do at a Trump rally: He listened."
"But Trump wasn't the only president who had a rally this weekend," Colbert said. "That's right, after a year and a half of quiet, [former President Barack] Obama finally came out strong against Trump and dropped a sick burn on the Grand Old Party." He played that, plus a highlight reel of Obama's many "dramatic pauses." Watch below. Peter Weber
A senior Trump administration official published an anonymous op-ed in The New York Times on Wednesday, claiming he and other internal "resistance" figures were keeping America safe by thwarting President Trump's impulses. And Trevor Noah had some questions on Wednesday's Daily Show, starting with: "This whole time we've been dealing with the watered-down version of Trump?"
Noah also questioned why Trump's Cabinet thought thwarting Trump was better than removing him through the 25th Amendment, as they reportedly considered. "The 25th Amendment is there so you can use it," he said. "It's like there's a sign that says 'In Case of Emergency, Break Glass,' but these guys were like, 'I mean, we could break the glass, but then there'd be glass everywhere.'" And if the point of the op-ed was to assure America, Noah wasn't convinced: "Before this, I knew there was turbulence. But now someone just came on the PA system and was like: 'Ladies and gentlemen, the pilot is actively trying to crash the plane, but don't be alarmed, we're doing everything we can to stop him. Mikey's got a pretty good chokehold and I've said some pretty harsh words, so please keep your seatbelts fastened and enjoy your peanuts and tax cuts!'"
We already knew the White House was in chaos from Bob Woodward's new book, Fear, Noah noted, recapping some of Woodward's stories. "Look, all of this stuff is obviously crazy, but at some point I think we've got to stop saying that it's a 'bombshell,'" he said. "The day it comes out that Trump secretly works out and reads Shakespeare and teaches kids how to code, that's when we can call it a bombshell." (There's some NSFW language.)
On The Tonight Show, Jimmy Fallon's Trump gave a negative review to Woodward's Fear while confirming one anecdote.
And Stephen Colbert's Late Show gave Fear the Reading Rainbow book review treatment. Watch below. Peter Weber
On Tuesday's Late Show, Stephen Colbert celebrated the successful rescue of 12 Thai youths and their soccer coach from a flooded cave. "Everybody loves this story! Are you listening, Mr. President? Freeing children makes people like you." He noted that some 3,000 migrant children are still detained in the U.S. after being forcibly separated from their parents, and that a majority of the 102 kids under 5 still have not been reunited despite a Tuesday court deadline (though, it should be noted, the remaining children are not in "cages").
"These kids would have a better chance of being reunited with their parents if they went spelunking with a Thai soccer coach," Colbert said, pointing to Trump's chaotic and secretive reunification regime. "So we're at the point as a nation where the good news is that the government is throwing kids into unmarked vans," he said. "Next we're supposed to be cheering on America's heroic sewer clowns." Every detained migrant gets their day before an immigration judge, including, in one recent case, a 1-year-old. Colbert re-enacted what that baby might say if he learned immigration law, as the judge suggested.
Speaking of babies, Colbert shook his head over the Trump administration's aggressive efforts to water down a World Health Organization resolution to support breastfeeding. "Of course, this is the Trump administration, so I assume they want to replace the word 'breast' with something more tasteful, like 'fun bags,'" Colbert joked. He ran through this bizarre tale of international intrigue — over, again, breastfeeding — then pointed out how sinister the language of infant-rearing can be with the right accent.
And also speaking of babies, London Mayor Sadiq Khan has approved a protest for Trump's England visit featuring a giant unflattering Baby Trump blimp, and The Late Show had some thoughts on that. Watch below. Peter Weber
It's summer, which means "presidential rally season," Jordan Klepper said on The Opposition Tuesday night, "and the left wants to say these rallies are just echo chambers where the president makes up facts. But all I hear is incontrovertible winning." He played some of the questionable claims Trump made on Monday night. "If the president was a liar, would he draw crowds so big that they literally get bigger every time he tells that story?" Klepper asked. "Checkmate, media. We all know the president does not lie."
Klepper brought out Tim Baltz, who disagreed. "They're acting like Trump's constant lies are a bad thing," he said. "Lying is his thing, Jordan," Baltz added, after Klepper protested, and as a tactic it's "easy, fun, presidential." "Tim, you're wrong, Trump is the first honest president we've ever had — he tells it like it is," Klepper said. "No, you're wrong, Jordan," Baltz shot back. "Trump tells it like we want to hear it, with lies."
"Trump can't be a liar — he's the president," Klepper said. "If he were a liar, he would have faced some sort of consequences." "Good one, Jordan," Baltz said, laughing. "Trump and his friends don't face consequences because they have a second ingenious tactic that they go to anytime they get challenged: Keep f---ing lying. ... We don't care if Donald Trump is telling the truth, as long as his lies are punishing our worst enemies: Americans we disagree with. And that's what's so beautiful for us conservatives in this moment. We've been given a chance to govern, and this is what we chose to do with it: Create your own reality that can't be bothered by facts or laws." "I'd be lying if I said I wasn't impressed," Klepper said. Baltz rolled his eyes: "Yeah, why aren't you lying? Have you learned nothing?" It doesn't end well. Watch below. Peter Weber
"Here's a sentence I don't often say: Donald Trump did something good," Stephen Colbert said on Wednesday's Late Show. Commuting the life sentence of great-grandmother and nonviolent drug offender Alice Johnson was the right thing to do, he said, "but maybe he did the right thing for the wrong reason. Because there was no legal process or review, as there normally is. Trump just commuted her sentence because of a meeting with Kim Kardashian. So executive clemency is now just a reality TV show — stay tuned for The Pardoner."
In fact, people are now going on Fox News to beg Trump to pardon their husbands, Colbert noted. "Going on Fox News is one of the best ways to make sure Trump gets your message — other than writing it on his steak in ketchup." But Trump has pardons on his mind more than ever these days, he added. "Insiders say Trump's become fixated on his ability to issue pardons because it's the one area where he has almost unchecked power. And I'm actually okay with that. It's like letting a toddler play with an electric razor: It's gonna look crazy when it's over but he's having a good time."
Colbert turned to Trump's new tariffs on Canada, Mexico, and the EU, "also known as the legion of people who still like us," he joked — or did like us, anyway. Canada is upset because, among other reasons, Trump first had to classify Canada as a national security threat, a proposition he reportedly backed up by asking Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau if it wasn't true that Canada burned down the White House. (It isn't.). "Trump was probably referring to the War of 1812 when, in actuality, British troops burned down the White House," Colbert said. "Still, that is shockingly almost accurate. Since when does Donald Trump know anything about American history?" Watch below. Peter Weber
Stephen Colbert asks Stephen King about Trump's Twitter block, grills the Devil about that White House sinkhole
On Wednesday, a federal judge ruled that President Trump can no longer block people on Twitter. "So for those of you who can once again read Donald Trump's tweets, congratulations! — and I am so sorry," Stephen Colbert said on The Late Show. "From now on, if Trump wants to send messages exclusively to his supporters, he'll have to do so on his Etsy pages." He explained the ruling and said it was "adorable" that the judge thought her decision would encourage Trump to change his habits.
Colbert pivoted from Trump's tweets to the staffers who ghostwrite them, reportedly including typos to make them seem authentically Trump. He feigned disbelief at this perfidy, and said he felt personally betrayed by the revelation that some staffer writes some of the tweets Colbert has made an art of reading in Trump's voice. "It's so dishonest — I mean, I would never come out here and read a bunch of words I didn't write myself," he added, throwing in a little self-deprecation.
Colbert was able to ask Stephen King about being blocked by Trump on Twitter. King touched on what got him Trump-blocked and he didn't seem overly broken up about it — in fact, he blocked both Trump and Vice President Mike Pence in return, for slightly different reasons.
Finally, Colbert took a look at the sinkhole that's opening up on the White House lawn. "It's true — it finally happened: The Earth is fighting back," Colbert said. But he wasn't convinced by the geologist who assured everyone that sinkholes aren't "the gates of hell opening," so he threw to the Devil in hell, who — it turns out — did disavow responsibility. "Oh, here no!" the Devil said. "I don't want to get mixed up with Donald Trump! Have you seen what they did to Michael Cohen? I don't need Mueller on my ass — I run a legitimate business torturing the damned." Peter Weber