Speed Reads

Late Night Tackles Guns

Stephen Colbert appreciates Beto O'Rourke's 'shouts and swears' on Trump and gun violence

"Today was a very rough day, so let's start off with something from the smile file," Stephen Colbert said on Monday's Late Show. "Thanks to Trump's trade war with China, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost more than 750 points today. And that was the smile file."

Colbert compared this weekend's two mass shootings, in El Paso and Dayton, to HBO's documentary on Chernobyl: "Over and over again in it, a scientist or an engineer will tell a politician: 'Hey, we got a real problem here. The nuclear core is going to melt down and kill everyone.' But see, the politicians refuse to believe it, because any acknowledgment of failure threatens their position of power, and their power is more important than saving any lives. What's that got to do with anything? Well, I think at this point it's clear that America's gun culture is melting down, but the Republicans in Congress would rather maintain their power than save lives."

Colbert specifically slammed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) for blocking two bipartisan gun background check bills that passed the House in February, "but this time, the problem is not just these semiautomatic rifles that are on the streets, it's also overt racism," Colbert said, applauding El Paso native Beto O'Rourke's NSFW "refreshing candor" on President Trump's role in inciting racial violence. "It's all well and good to offer thoughts and prayers, but sometimes you want shouts and swears," he said. Still, it didn't work as well when Cory Booker took a stab: "So Beto swears, now everybody jumps on the curse wagon. The next debate is going to be a lot of fun."

Trump also gave a speech, misplacing the Dayton shooting in Toledo (and still doing better than Joe Biden) and blaming video games for the rise in gun violence. "First of all there is no link between video games and shootings — every country has video games, but these tragedies only happen here," Colbert said. "Secondly, I would love to hear Trump try to name one video game." Watch below. Peter Weber