Speed Reads

Late Night Tackles Trump Firing James Comey

Trevor Noah warns that after Trump's firing of James Comey, 'even Africa is possible in America'

For anyone who spent Tuesday night and Wednesday "in airplane mode," Trevor Noah caught everyone up on President Trump's firing of James Comey, and its implications, on Wednesday's Daily Show. "Trump fired James Comey, the man who happened to be leading the investigation into whether Trump's campaign had colluded with Russia to win last year's election, the man who, as director of the FBI, is supposed to be politically independent, almost untouchable," he said. "People, I'm not going to sugar-coat this — this is bad for democracy."

Noah, a native of South Africa, played a highlight reel of talking heads alarmed at the Comey news, then said they should just say what they really mean: What Trump did should only happen in Africa. "I don't get why people still say, 'This could never happen in America,'" he said. "Isn't this the place where anything is possible? So even Africa is possible in America. First it's Dictator Trump, and pretty soon Bono's gonna be throwing benefit concerts for the U.S."

Noah did not buy Trump's first explanation for why he fired Comey, and neither did the Daily Show audience. He paraphrased the Comey-was-mean-to-Hillary excuse, in Trump voice: "I fire people who do the right thing — it's why all my businesses succeed." But "you don't need to be a genius to figure out why Trump really canned Comey — it rhymes with Russia," Noah said, noting the escalating investigation Comey was overseeing, including a request for more resources to expand its scope just days before he was fired.

People have been warning about Trump's "autocratic tendencies" since his election, but what's particularly worrisome is that this Congress has shown Trump it will be neither a check nor a balance on his power," Noah said. "Here's the thing: Democracies don't go away in a flash. People need to get that into their minds. You don't just wake up one morning and tanks are rolling through the streets. That's not how it works. It's a slow burn, with many steps along the way, and this is a big step. Without Congress to rely on, Comey was the one person we trusted to be unbiased. Whether you liked or hated his decisions, it didn't feel like he was on anyone's side." That hope is gone. "A lot of people are distraught by this decision," he said. "The other people are Russians." Watch below. Peter Weber