Speed Reads

Late night tackles Trump and coronavirus

Stephen Colbert and Samantha Bee explain why Trump's 'normal tricks' aren't working in the coronavirus crisis

"It is the 50th Earth Day, the big 5-0, and I gotta say, Earth is still looking good — she's just getting hotter every year," Stephen Colbert said on Wednesday's Late Show. "And Earth is having kind of a moment right now," with animals roaming and skies clearing as people quarantine. "Turns out the best present for Earth Day is the same as the best present for Mother's Day: Time away from her children."

President Trump marked the occasion by planting trees, though Colbert was skeptical Trump has "always loved" arboricultural manual labor. "Trump also celebrated Earth Day by threatening to blow up chunks of the planet" in an odd tweet about Iran, he added. "You read that right: He's going to shoot down boats."

"Here's the thing: Trump's attempt to change the subject to immigration or to China or Iran or anything is not gonna work," Colbert said. "Trump's normal tricks he uses to change the narrative aren't working, because it's hard to come up with a more gripping narrative than: stay inside or you might die. You can tweet all you want, but it's hard to capture people's hearts and minds when they're worried about their hearts and lungs. You can't have Bill Barr redact the virus or call Ukraine to get dirt on Hunter Virus, or get Mitch McConnell to have 51 Republicans vote that there is no virus. You can't even pay the virus $130,000 to stay quiet! ... So if you want to keep your job, you're gonna have to do the unthinkable: your job!"

"Social distancing is working," Full Frontal's Samantha Bee said, pointing to the eight states that refused to close, "the countries that have already relaxed restrictions," and the price they are paying. "But the sentient bobblehead dolls at Fox News are acting like containing COVID-19 is somehow un-American," and "of course there's no bigger, louder, or all-capsier proponent of reopening the economy than Trump," Bee said, calling Trump's "American wants to be open" line "the 'she was asking for it' of coronavirus relief measures."

"People have legitimate reasons for wanting to end this lockdown; it's understandable to feel angry and upset," Bee said. "But reopening the economy prematurely could backfire and lead to another shutdown. We're not facing a choice between saving lives or saving the economy — the simple fact is, the economy is people, and dead people don't buy stuff." Watch below. Peter Weber