Late Night Tackles Trump and Race

Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel, and Seth Meyers don't love Trump's profane 'martial law' flirtation

June 3, 2020

"For a week, America's streets have been filled with protesters enraged over the murder of George Floyd by police," Stephen Colbert said on Tuesday's Late Show, and Monday evening President Trump "finally appeared in the Rose Garden to calm a troubled nation — by threatening martial law." Responding to protests about police brutality by "threatening to send in the Army to crush them," he said, is "like forgetting your child's birthday and apologizing by sending in the Army to crush them."

Trump wanted to end his speech with a stroll to St. John's Church, Colbert said, but "there was a crowd of peaceful protesters in the way. So he had military police open fire with rubber bullets, flash grenades, and tear gas," and "once the path was cleared for Caesar's brave shamble, Trump made his way across the street to the boarded-up church, where he, with visible confusion and discomfort, groped a Bible" for the cameras.

Tooning Out the News had God deal with Trump's photo op.

Trump has always been "an armchair thug who glorifies violence," but his Rose Garden speech and its aftermath "was one of the most menacing moments" of his presidency, Late Night's Seth Meyers said. We're at the "worst-case scenario where our democracy crumbles and our country descends into authoritarianism," he added. "There's no on-off switch. Democracy, it turns out, is on a dimmer."

Yes, "our president, if we can still even call him that, seems to believe he is the warden overseeing a prison break," Jimmy Kimmel said. "This is a week that any other president would have gone on TV and at least tried to bring us together," but Trump "can't even go through the motions."

"Mr. Tough Guy was whisked into a panic bunker on Friday as crowds assembled outside the White House — it took three-and-a-half years, he finally got that massive crowd to show up for him in D.C.," Kimmel joked wryly. "And the reports that he was holed up and hiding must have really gotten under that orange skin," because he had Attorney General William Barr gas protesters so he could go outside and hold "a Bible upside-down in front of a church." He ended by trying to explain white privilege for people who, like him, were skeptical: "White privilege doesn't mean your life hasn't been hard, it just means the color of your skin isn't one of the things that makes it harder." Watch below. Peter Weber