Speed Reads

Late Night Tackles Trump and Iran

Stephen Colbert and Trevor Noah puzzle over Trump's odd Iran 'victory' address

"Remember when [President] Trump killed the top Iranian general, Qassem Soleimani, and everybody was like, 'Is this World War III?'" Stephen Colbert asked on Wednesday's Late Show. "Well I'm happy to announce it's not World War III! ... That's wonderful, but it's not like nothing happened." In fact, Iran fired more than a dozen ballistic missiles at Iraqi bases housing U.S. forces, "and for hours we knew nothing," he said. "Then at 9:45 p.m. Eastern time, our commander-in-chief tweeted at a worried nation: 'All is well!'" Colbert and Jon Batiste had an elaborate bit about how that wasn't particularly reassuring.

Still, "as promised, this morning Trump emerged to address a worried world from what looked like a live nuclear reactor," Colbert said. And "the president started his statement with a weirdly abrupt greeting." Colbert tried it out in a different context: "As long as I'm your dentist, your fillings will never be composed of mashed-up other people's teeth! Hello, I'm Dr. Ditworth."

"Trump was quick to claim victory," but "it wouldn't be a Trump speech without some mis-speeching," Colbert said, rolling the tape. "Rest easy, America, that is the man deciding who liges and who dibes."

"'Toleraized?' 'Accomplishmentaized?' Trump's mouth was missing more targets than those Iranian missiles," Trevor Noah joked at The Daily Show. But "at least for the moment, the beef with Iran has been squashed." It's true that "Iran launched 15 missiles at American forces in Iraq, but in an interesting twist, they killed no one, hurt no one, and gave the Iraqi bases a six-hour heads-up — which is a lot of warning," he said. "It's almost like they were sitting there, like, 'Let's give them one hour notice.' 'But sir, what if they're watching The Irishman?' 'Okay, six hours.' ... In international diplomacy, this type of action is known as a 'Hold me back, bro!'"

Still, Trump's "All is Well!" tweet "is hilarious, because the tweet was composed like Trump was writing a letter from the front lines of the Civil War," Noah said, demonstrating Ken Burns–style. But "Trump got what he wanted: Killed the general and it didn't escalate into anything. This is a win for him, but I pray that Donald Trump doesn't start watching Fox News again anytime soon, because for them, all is not well." Watch below. Peter Weber