Speed Reads

Late Night Tackles President Trump

Stephen Colbert creates some 'real' good news to sooth President Trump's Twitter rage

Stephen Colbert began Thursday night's Late Show monologue with CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference taking place outside Washington. At CPAC on Thursday, White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon and Chief of Staff Reince Priebus put on a buddy-comedy act to show that, "contrary to what we know to be true, Priebus and Bannon get along just fine," Colbert said. Priebus lauded Bannon's collars, and Bannon barely "caught himself before he went full Mussolini there. Now Bannon just has to resist talking about his kampf," Colbert said.

"Donald Trump said last night transgender students can't use the bathrooms they want to use," Colbert continued, noting that Trump's anti-transgender directive is weird because on the campaign trail, people believed that "when it came to stuff like this, Trump seemed to be cool with whatever." In any case, "according to the administration, this wasn't about persecuting any group, it was strictly a legal concern," Colbert said, though he found the administration's "states' rights" argument an unpersuasive cop-out — if, admittedly, a useful one. Attorney General Jeff Sessions reportedly pushed hard for the transgender protection reversal, while Education Secretary Betsy DeVos initially balked because it could lead to violence against kids. "So Betsy DeVos knew it would harm children, and did it anyway to save her job," Colbert said, icily. "How does she sleep at night? I'll let the states decide."

Colbert had some fun with a Politico article in which Trump campaign aides explained how they kept Trump off of Twitter — by soothing him with positive news and praise, essentially, even getting friendly news outlets to write articles just to calm Trump's nerves. "So his staff would use Fox and Breitbart to plant news?" Colbert asked. "That is... fake... Gosh, I wish there was a term for that. Oh, I know what it is, I know what it is: It's prostitution."

"Of course, being in the entertainment business, I have no experience with using flattery to manipulate someone — and my staff says it is one of my best qualities," Colbert said. "I'm going to try to do my part to keep Trump off Twitter right now. So, White House staffers, the next time the president thinks he hasn't been getting enough praise, please show him this news clip." Watch below. Peter Weber