Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, Seth Meyers cheer Mattis, jeer police violence on peaceful protests

Late night hosts on Mattis, police brutality
(Image credit: Screenshots/YouTube/The Late Show, Late Night, Jimmy Kimmel Live, The Tonight Show )

Protests sparked by Minneapolis police killing George Floyd have spread to at least 430 U.S. cities and towns, Stephen Colbert said on Thursday's Late Show. "This isn't happening just in our urban centers," he noted. "These demonstrations are everywhere" and they're "uniting Americans of all backgrounds — you may have noticed that Boise, Idaho, does not have a lot of black people."

"And please don't buy the false narrative that these are lawless mobs," Colbert said. "The vast majority of these protests have been peaceful," though "in many places, police are using curfew as an excuse to bring the smackdown on peaceful protesters." He showed several examples.

Still, Colbert said, "the attack that everyone is still talking about is Monday's military assault on peaceful protesters so that Donald Trump could shamble across the street to get handsy with a Bible. Trump has been criticized by a lot of people for misuse of the military," most powerfully his first defense secretary, James "Mad Dog" Mattis. Colbert re-nicknamed him "Principled Pooch."

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"Mattis' decision to speak out is yet another indication of the truly precarious moment we're in," said Late Night's Seth Meyers. "Trump and the police establishment are obviously threatened by widespread popularity of the protests," which "have profoundly swayed public opinion. And this kind of massive, sustained political mobilization represents a direct threat to the unjust system of predatory policing we currently have, which is why the people who benefit from that system are lashing out so aggressively."

"Protests are continuing nationwide, but it seems that some common ground is being reached," at least in some cities, Jimmy Kimmel said. "In Washington, where law enforcement has taken a much more forceful approach, including tear-gassing peaceful protesters, things are not as amicable — authorities there are busy erecting another fence that will go around the existing White House fence," he said. "So it looks like Trump is finally getting his wall built after all. How long before we find out Don Jr. invested in a fence company?"

The new fence should work great — "unless protesters resort to the act of pushing," Jimmy Fallon deadpanned at The Tonight Show. "So far, Trump's turned out the White House lights, hid in a bunker, and is now building an ugly chain-link fence. He's like every crazy neighbor rolled into one." He recited a pitch-perfect Trump version of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. Watch below. Peter Weber

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Peter Weber

Peter Weber is a senior editor at, and has handled the editorial night shift since the website launched in 2008. A graduate of Northwestern University, Peter has worked at Facts on File and The New York Times Magazine. He speaks Spanish and Italian and plays bass and rhythm cello in an Austin rock band. Follow him on Twitter.