Speed Reads

Late Night Tackles President Trump

Stephen Colbert sheepishly mocks Trump's leaked phone transcripts, schools Stephen Miller on Lady Liberty

On Thursday's Late Show, Stephen Colbert pivoted from the latest threat to President Trump's presidency to his first week in office, "back when we were giving him a chance," and rumors emerged about some contentious phone conversations he had with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. Trump denied the talks were tense and "these were private conversations," Colbert said. "Who do you believe? The guy who denied it or the guy who was lying? There was no way to know — until this morning, when The Washington Post published full transcripts."

"Now these transcripts, I believe, should not have been leaked," Colbert said, dutifully. "Bad leaker. Whoever you are, you shouldn't have done it. But you did, so let's just keep going." So he did, starting with Trump telling Peña Nieto that he really doesn't care about the border wall, up to where "Trump, for some reason, started talking smack about America." The Turnbull call was bonkers, too, and as rumored, it ended abruptly and poorly. "High-energy Don, Mr. Stamina, one week into his presidency, just gives up," Colbert said, reciting how Trump told Turnbull his was "the most unpleasant call all day. Putin was a pleasant call."

Later, Colbert returned to Trump's new immigration plan, which aims to halve legal immigration using a points system. "Kind of like Weight Watchers, but the goal is to lose brown people," Colbert said, listing the criteria that gets you points. "Ah, it's the classic immigrant tale," he summarized. "You come here at 28, speaking perfect English with a briefcase full of cash and a dream that if you work hard, your kids might go to the same college you did."

White House policy adviser Stephen Miller was sent out to defend the plan, and Colbert replayed his comments about the Statue of Liberty and its history. "There's a lot of crazy in his explanation there," he said. But "here's the thing about the poem on the Statue of Liberty — I agree with Stephen Miller that we're never going to live up to it. It's an aspirational document, like 'Love your neighbor as yourself,' or 'All men are created equal,' or 'Employees must wash hands before returning to work.' It's something to strive for." With that in mind, he picked up a torch and a tablet and recited an updated version of "The New Colossus." Watch below. Peter Weber