Speed Reads

Late Night Tackles President Trump

Seth Meyers refashions the Pledge of Allegiance for Trump's post-fact presidency

In the past week, the world has caught "glimpses of what likely will be two of the most important features of a Donald Trump presidency," Seth Meyers said on Monday's Late Night: "His willingness to make false claims with no evidence, and his shoot-from-the-hip approach to foreign policy — and those two things do not mix well." Meyers was playing catch-up from being on vacation last week, and that allowed his "closer look" to pull back a bit for some perspective. It wasn't exactly a comforting panorama.

"When you're dealing with foreign powers and unstable regions, you need sober, analytical thinking and a firm grasp of reality — qualities you definitely do not associate with Donald Trump," Meyers said, laying out his thesis. He began with the apparent disregard for facts in Trumpworld, highlighting Trump's baseless claim about illegal voters and comparing Vice President-elect Mike Pence, Reince Priebus, and other Trump aides to "entitled" helicopter parents defending their bratty child at a high school.

"The scariest thing about these false conspiracy theories is that a lot of people believe them," Meyers said, playing a clip of a CNN reporter listening to a Trump voter confidently parrot the illegal-voter myth, the reporter ending up with her hand on her forehead. "Look at how frustrated she is," Meyers said. "I'm starting to think hand on the forehead is how we're going to do the Pledge of Allegiance during the Trump years." Then he got to the bigger point: "At the heart of the Trump team's defense of these false conspiracy theories is the cynical notion that truth doesn't matter at all, that people can choose to believe whatever reality they want to believe."

Despite the implicit Trump argument and the explicit claim of Trump surrogates, facts do exist, and they "really do matter, whether you believe in them or not," Meyers said. And that's especially true in foreign relations. You can watch how he ties that point to China, Pakistan, and the Philippines — and ends up with his hand on his forehead — in the video below. Peter Weber