Speed Reads

Late Night Tackles Trump versus Biden

Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon, and Jimmy Kimmel gratefully recap the final Trump-Biden debate

The final presidential debate between President Trump and Joe Biden was in Nashville on Thursday night, and The Late Show kicked it off with a musical number.

"Tonight was Donald Trump's very last chance to make his closing argument: Please ignore what he's like and everything he's ever done," Stephen Colbert said on Thursday's live post-debate Late Show. "Moderator Kristen Welker did a great job" and "kept them on subject, admirably," starting with "Trump's catastrophic COVID response — which of course was a subject he didn't want to touch."

Biden and Trump also clashed on climate policy, corruption, racism, and personal taxes, and when "Welker turned to the tragedy of the 545 children who the Trump administration took from their parents at the southern border," Trump "did an insane thing and tried to defend the border detention centers for kids," Colbert said. "Trump seemed to get spooked as the night went on and started playing some of the classics," like "immigrants are murderers and rapists. Trump's closing with the line he opened this entire nightmare with." He reminded voters: "The ultimate mute button is in your hands."

The mute button "seemed like it worked pretty well — I'm thinking of getting one for Thanksgiving," Jimmy Fallon joked at The Tonight Show. In fact, it was so "much calmer, at one point they almost cut to Jeffrey Toobin to liven things up."

"Everyone was impressed by Trump not interrupting or yelling," though "I'm not sure it's a great sign that we talk about the president like we talk about a 4-year-old at a puppet show," Fallon said. And when Trump claimed he wasn't racist, "instead of the mute button, someone hit the laugh track. It's a little weird to say 'I'm the least racist person in the room' when half the room are your friends and family."

"Only Donald Trump can look at a half-Black, half-Native American moderator and say 'I'm the least racist person in this room,'" Jimmy Kimmel agreed on Kimmel Live. "The Thrilla in Nasvhilla" was "not the WrestleMania event most people were expecting," and Trump did get "marks for good behavior, like when you bring a 2-year-old on a plane." There were high points, like Trump "almost kinda" taking responsibility for America's pandemic response," but "there was so much nonsense," Kimmel said. "Trump, his defense of putting children in cages is 'You should see how nice these cages are.' Honestly." He ended with a very personal plea for protecting people with pre-existing conditions. Watch below. Peter Weber