Speed Reads

last night on late night

Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Kimmel raise an eyebrow at Matt Gaetz asking Trump for a blanket pardon

Americans are getting vaccinated — and professionally groomed, finally — but COVID-19 isn't done with us yet, Stephen Colbert said on Wednesday's Late Show. "The U.K. variant is now the dominant coronavirus strain in the U.S., making it the most sickening British import since Piers Morgan."

"Speaking of awful things about to go away," Colbert said, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) "is currently under investigation for violating federal sex-trafficking laws for allegedly having a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old. ... Gaetz has denied any wrongdoing, but sources say that just before the previous president left office, Gaetz asked for a blanket pardon" for "any illegal activity he's ever done — like innocent people do." Thanks to his close relationship with Trump, Gaetz "had reason to believe he might get that pardon," but White House lawyers reportedly shot down the request as a bad precedent, he said. "Do you know how shady you have to be for No. 45's lawyers to go, 'No that's a bad look'?" He turned that into a Rudy Giuliani joke.

But Gaetz isn't a total pariah — he's a featured speaker at a pro-Trump women's group conference, Colbert said. "You could say that's putting the fox in the hen house, but Gaetz would rather hang out with the eggs."

The Late Show had some other ideas for mismatched speakers.

Gaetz asking Trump for a pardon, "that's not suspicious," Jimmy Kimmel deadpanned on Kimmel Live. "You know you haven't done anything wrong when you check in with the president to ask for a pardon in case you happen to get accused of a sex crime somewhere down the line." Trump "weighed in on the story with a two-sentence statement" insisting Gaetz never asked him for a pardon, he said, but that's after his advisers reportedly "talked him out of a full-throated defense of Gaetz. Which is sad, because Matt Gaetz really was the son Donald Trump never had, even though he had a couple."

"Aides say that Trump is focused on getting friendly Republicans elected in the 2022 midterms, and if Republicans can take the House, Trump loyalists have said that they would push to install Trump as the new speaker of the House," James Corden said at The Late Late Show. "Yeah, because that's what Trump's good at, speaking." You can watch him imagine how aides would try to sell that idea to Trump below. Peter Weber