Speed Reads

Late Night Tackles President Trump

Stephen Colbert notices two unexpectedly small things: Sean Spicer and Trump's donated salary

On Monday, The Washington Post reported that Erik Prince, the Blackwater founder and big supporter of President Trump, had met with a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin to establish a backchannel conduit between Trump and the Kremlin. "Why does Donald Trump need a backchannel to Moscow?" Stephen Colbert asked on Tuesday's Late Show. "If he wants to communicate with Putin, just email the DNC, or maybe a little pillow talk with Michael Flynn."

The intermediary, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, reportedly picked the Seychelles islands because of the sun and privacy. "It's right there in their slogan: The Seychelles — Come for the sunshine, stay for the treason," Colbert said. Still, "I gotta say, if you're going to play footsie with Putin, this is doing it right. A tropical location, a shadowy Russian operative, a secret army named Blackwater. They've even given the meeting a cool name: 'The Seychelles encounter.'"

After running through some other Trump-related news, Colbert turned to Trump's decision to donate his first-quarter presidential salary to a war memorial national park. "Trump had already told us he was going to donate his salary," he said, but nobody expected him to have the White House press secretary publicly present a check to the interior secretary and superintendent of the national park.

Colbert noticed two things about the Spicer tableau. First, "what has happened to Sean Spicer?" he asked. "Look how tiny he is. Did they leave him in the dryer too long? This job is really grinding him down, starting from the shins up." The second thing was the amount on the check. Yes, $78,333 seems like a lot of money — until you consider Trump wants to cut $1.5 billion from the National Parks Service. The check covers 5/1000th of 1 percent of the cuts Trump is proposing, which "explains the look on the face of black Jeff Goldblum," he said, indicating the park superintendent. "That is the official face of meeting Sean Spicer. He looks like he thinks the check is going to bounce." Colbert wrapped it up with a short, dark new National Parks PSA. Watch below. Peter Weber