Speed Reads

Johnsplaining

John Oliver warns against trusting skeptical GOP senators to sink the new health-care bill

Last week, President Trump insisted that, contrary to his earlier suggestion, he did not tape his conversations with former FBI Director James Comey. And his elaboration on the topic, in an interview on Fox News, was a word-salad masterpiece, John Oliver marveled on Sunday's Last Week Tonight. "Whenever Trump talks, it's like cross between a lottery machine that spits outs words and a Speak-and-Spell that just fell into a toilet." In just a few sentences, Trump somehow managed to validate Comey's damaging testimony, suggest he tampered with a witness, and coin the awkward phrase "not very stupid," Oliver noted.

That said, Trump's "extraordinarily stupid" comments on Comey and secret recordings "served to distract from the really important business going down in Washington this week concerning the Senate's new ObamaCare replacement bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act," Oliver said. Democrats immediately denounced the bill, some skillfully (Barack Obama) and some quite the opposite — here, Oliver played Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer's "prop comedy," or attempt thereof. "If political theater were actual theater, that was the equivalent of someone falling to their death in Spider Man: Turn Off the Dark," Oliver sighed. "Now, as for the content of the bill, it is set to hurt a lot of people," he added, briefly explaining how.

"You may have heard some Republicans have come out against this bill in its current form, some because it's too harsh, others because it is not harsh enough — and of course Ted Cruz is in that group," Oliver said. "He's the only man in history whose personality somehow contracted bedbugs. But here's the thing: I would be very careful relying on those politicians to hold out." He noted that GOP senators are being pretty squirrelly with their language, and advised caution at news coverage that presupposes the bill is actually in trouble. "Oh, that's great — it's 'dead on arrival,'" Oliver deadpanned. "Then kick back and relax, everyone, because I haven't felt this confident about an outcome since Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016." The BCRA very well may pass, especially without momentous pushback from the public, he warned, "so resisting complacency would be, to borrow a truly moronic phrase, 'not very stupid, I can tell you that.'" There is some NSFW language. Watch below. Peter Weber