Speed Reads

last night on late night

Stephen Colbert and Chris Cuomo ask why a rape allegation against a sitting president isn't bigger news

"Here's something you did not see discussed on TV a lot this weekend: The president of the United States was accused of sexual assault — again," Stephen Colbert said on Monday's Late Show. President "Trump is really repeating his 2016 strategy." The accusations from writer E. Jean Carroll, unveiled Friday, "are specific, they are credible, and they are terrible," he said, "and they make Carroll the 22nd woman to step forward — 22 women! That should raise alarms."

"Let me put it this way," Colbert said: "If one person in your life accused you of pooping in their kitchen sink, I could be persuaded to believe that that is a lie. But if over the course of the 73 years of your life, 22 separate people came forward with detailed accounts of times you had pooped in their kitchen sinks, I'm going to start thinking you're a sink pooper."

CNN's Chris Cuomo said he and his staff were similarly confused: "This prominent journalist accuses the sitting president of rape — this is the most extreme accusation we've had against this president — and it has had almost no impact, really, on our dialogue." He read Carroll's allegations. "This is rape, period," he said. "Carroll doesn't like using the word, and that is her right." Cuomo said CNN didn't report the allegation until it got corroboration, and it has.

Carroll said Monday, "Think how many women have come forward, and nothing happens." But Trump's response to the rape allegations really "shows how perverse this current dynamic is," Cuomo said, reading Trump's now-familiar "she's not my type" dismissal. "Look, this is not a smart answer to the question of whether you would rape someone," he said. "Sexual assault is about power and violence, not just sex. More troubling to me in understanding where we are, more vexing," Cuomo added, is "why is this not front page news everywhere?" Watch him grapple with that question below. Peter Weber