Speed Reads

Late Night Tackles President Trump

Stephen Colbert boldly wades into the new culture war over Mike Pence's no-women dining rule

On Thursday's Late Show, Stephen Colbert began with a pledge to his audience: "The Late Show Intelligence Committee will follow our investigation of Trump and Russia wherever it leads" (even if that's just to The Late Late Show). "For the past week, everybody, everywhere, has been wondering about Devin Nunes' secret intelligence source at the White House," Colbert said. "Nunes has refused to reveal who it was out of concern that if his source was exposed, he'll have to come up with a new reason to cancel all the Russia hearings." Well, on Thursday it was reported that that source was two people — who work at the White House.

There are still more questions than answers about Trump and Russia — though when asked, Russian President Vladimir Putin denied meddling in the U.S. election, using a folksy George H.W. Bush reference that he misattributed to Ronald Reagan. That kind of historical sloppiness, Colbert joked, is why Putin lost during "War Criminals Week" on Jeopardy. "Speaking of Donald Trump's loved ones, last week it was announced that Ivanka Trump will become a federal employee in the White House, serving as the president's 'eyes and ears,'" Colbert said, meaning he's now "hired his daughter as assistant to the president, his son-in-law as his senior adviser, and put Eric and Donald Jr. in charge of the national hair gel reserve."

"But let's take a break from Trump for just a moment," Colbert said, to cheers. He turned to a recent Washington Post profile of Mike and Karen Pence, and jumped right in to a seething culture war over Mike Pence's apparently self-imposed rules of gender conduct. The Pences "have, evidently, a pretty solid thing going on, because Pence 'never eats alone with a woman other than his wife,'" he explained. That is apparently normal for many married conservative Christians, but Colbert joked that it "can only mean one thing: Mike Pence is such an out-of-control, Force 5 bone-icane that he has to be monitored by Karen Pence at all times."

After some vaguely uncomfortable talk about Mike Pence and food, Colbert retold the other notable part of the Karen Pence profile: the 1985 engagement picnic. "It's actually a very cute engagement story," he said, "and it's a good thing Karen was there, because you do not want to leave Mike Pence alone with one of those seductive loaves of bread." Watch below. Peter Weber