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Late Night Tackles President Trump
October 26, 2018

President Trump has to take responsibility for his words, "because when he talks, people listen — for instance, Chinese people," Stephen Colbert said on Thursday's Late Show, pointing to the New York Times report about Chinese spies eavesdropping on Trump's iPhone calls. "So the Chinese spies know Trump's innermost thoughts — right before he tweets them," Colbert joked. Aides warn Trump that his iPhone isn't secure, but they're also pretty sure he's not sharing secrets with the Chinese and Russians "because he doesn't read the details of the intelligence he is shown" and isn't conversant in "the operational specifics of military or covert activities," the Times reports.

"That's the most reassuring answer you could come up with, that the president isn't a danger because he's too incompetent to know anything?" Colbert asked. "Naturally, Trump is furious at the insinuation that he has not given up his iPhone," and he tweeted any angry denial — from an iPhone, he noted. "Come on! That's like handing the judge your 'not guilty' plea by writing it on the murder weapon."

"Donald Trump had unprotected sex with a porn star — you think he's worried about unsecured cellphones?" Jimmy Kimmel asked on Kimmel Live. He also noted that the "guy who won't let the fact that Hillary used a private email server go has chats with his shady business buddies on a Jitterbug phone he bought at CVS." Kimmel had an exasperated laugh over Trump's tweeted denial, too: "He tweeted about rarely using a cellphone from a cellphone! I mean, he may not be a good president, but he is the LeBron James of internet trolls."

Kimmel Live also recreated a school that actually exists for Russian internet trolls trying to divide American into chaotic doom.

And The Late Show channeled Patton to archly comment on Trump sending U.S. troops to the U.S.-Mexico border. Watch that below. Peter Weber

October 24, 2018

President Trump's "favorite midterms talking point" is about "a group of Central American migrants fleeing north to safety — aka, the caravan!" Stephen Colbert said on Tuesday's Late Show. Lately, Trump "has made up some caravan origin story fan fiction," he explained, with hand gestures. "Not everything Trump has said about this caravan is true — for instance, any of it." Reporters in southern Mexico, for example, say no one has seen "Middle Eastern" people in the "scareavan," and Trump later acknowledged "there's no proof of anything, but they could very well be."

"Look, I understand believing in something without any proof," Colbert said. "For instance, I believe in God, even though the fact that he allowed Donald Trump to become president is evidence He does not exist." He went on to look at Trump's shifting views on the murder of Jamal Khashoggi and Saudi Arabia's historically bad cover-up — though Colbert found a worse cover-up, in a manner of speaking.

"It's not just the caravan and the obvious murder of a Washington Post journalist Trump is fibbing about, and the press has noticed the lies," Colbert said. "And the strangest lie Donald Trump has told about this is his made-up middle class tax cut." He noted that, among other problems with Trump's plan, Congress is not in session to even pass his floated "resolution" on cutting taxes. Colbert brought it home: "Congress isn't in D.C.? Where did Congress go? Could they be in — the caravan?" Watch that, plus a bunch of movie characters yelling about lies and a joke about "terror penguins" ("They exist, they exist, they're known as Ice-is") below. Peter Weber

October 24, 2018

"With the midterms bearing down on us like an angry buffalo, yesterday the president had an important message," Stephen Colbert said on Tuesday's Late Show, indulging in a little wistful sleight of hand. But President Trump had some stuff to say, too. "Our wicked step-president also held a rally yesterday," Colbert joked. "He was in Houston to support Sen. Ted Cruz, so of course he talked about himself."

Specifically, Trump claimed the title "nationalist" for himself. There are lots of historical reasons to avoid adopting that term, but Colbert had a Trump-specific one: "You know why you're not supposed to use that word? Because it's the second half of 'white nationalist.' Chopping off the first word doesn't change what it means in our minds. 'Oh, look, look, I'm a Klux Klan, I have no idea which one!'" Trump also trotted out his definition of "globalism," and Colbert had some questions: "He does realize America is on the globe, right?" he asked, imitating Trump asking people to wake him up "when it's America warming," not the global variety.

"The president did lend a tiny hand at a rally for Ted Cruz," but "that had to be the saddest phone call Ted Cruz ever had to make," Jimmy Kimmel said on Kimmel Live. "I mean, imagine if your neighbor insulted your wife's face, and then you had to ask him to loan you a weed-whacker. That's Ted Cruz's life right now. Look at them — he's bowing his head. It's like the devil making a deal with the devil." To rub it in, Kimmel Live created an unkind new campaign commercial for Cruz.

On Tuesday's Late Night, Seth Meyers turned a Trump press conference into an opportunity to ask his own questions — not all of which are appropriate for work — and get his own answers. Watch below. Peter Weber

October 23, 2018

President Trump was in Texas on Monday to rally for the man he used to call "Lyin' Ted" Cruz. But that was then, in 2016. "Trump is so close to Cruz now, he's even pretending to unveil a new nickname for him," Stephen Colbert laughed on Monday's Late Show. "'Beautiful Ted'? Really? Somewhere, Ted Nugent is weeping over his assault rifle. 'I thought I was Beautiful Ted. Wango saddo.'

"And there's more random cruelty from the Trump administration coming down the pike," Colbert said. "This time they spun the Wheel of Discrimination and they landed on transgender." The Trump administration says its proposed change, to recognize people only by their birth genitalia, rests "on a biological basis that is clear, grounded in science." Colbert threw up his hands: "Oh, now you care about science! Wow, how convenient." He poked a little fun at himself and his Lord of the Rings obsession: "Gender is clearly a spectrum, okay? We know this. For instance, I identify as a man, but it's a little fluid. I enjoy getting my hands dirty and repairing boats; then again, my favorite book is about elves and jewelry."

Colbert ended on the "obvious and shocking murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Turkey," and he wasn't buying Saudi Arabia's belated story that their agents killed Khashoggi accidentally, in a spontaneous brawl. "Saudi Arabia's excuses are so lame that they're being doubted by even the most gullible people, like Donald Trump," he said. But even as he shows some skepticism of the Saudi version of events, Trump insists he doesn't want to cancel weapons deals with Saudi Arabia "because he's protecting America's jobs," Colbert said. "How many jobs? You won't believe how many." Literally, Trump's numbers are unbelievable. Says who? "As Trump put it, 'fake news' from the 'Failing White House,'" Colbert surmised. Watch below. Peter Weber

October 3, 2018

"Donald Trump has always sold himself as something of a self-made man who built an empire out of nothing but a dream and hard work, and a loan from his dad," Stephen Colbert said on Tuesday's Late Show. But it turns out even that "small loan of $1 million" — which, Colbert joked, is "barely enough to silence eight porn stars" — was just a tiny fraction of the $413 million Trump got from his father over the years, according to a blockbuster New York Times investigation. "In order to hide the money from the IRS — which is a crime — Fred Trump had been funneling money to his children for years," he recounted, and Donald Trump was earning $200,000 a year in today's dollars by the time he turned 3.

"So let me get this straight," Colbert said. "At one point, Donald Trump was an extraordinarily wealthy toddler, and today — he is still that."

"You're not going to believe this," Jimmy Kimmel said on Kimmel Live, but "Donald Trump isn't a self-made millionaire after all." His audience reacted accordingly. "He's not just a con man," he added, pointing to Trump's 3-year-old allowance, "he was a con baby first. He was a millionaire, Donald Trump — on his own — by the time he was 8 years old. But he earned that money — he ate every piece of broccoli on his plate." And he was reportedly getting millions of dollars a year from his dad through his 50s, Kimmel said.

Trump's lawyer called the Times' more serious allegations of tax fraud and evasion "false" and "extremely inaccurate," and Kimmel had an idea: "Gee, if there only was a way to know for sure, maybe some sort of a tax return that could be released or something to clear this all up?"

You can learn more about the Times report from one of the reporters who broke the story, in the CNN interview below. Peter Weber

September 27, 2018

Wednesday's top story is, sadly, not about a moth drinking a bird's tears — it's still Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination, Stephen Colbert lamented on Wednesday's Late Show. "Let me do this as quickly as I can, because it's important, but we have to get to the president's press conference, because it's unbelievable." A woman named Julie Swetnick came forward Wednesday to swear that Kavanaugh attended at least 10 parties in high school where he drunkenly abused girls. "Do we want someone on the Supreme Court who treated women this way, even in high school?" Colbert asked. "I'm not sure we want someone who even attended 10 parties in high school. We want nerds, damnit!"

Swetnick's allegations get much darker, including drugging and raping women, and Kavanaugh denies them, Colbert noted. "It was against this horrifying backdrop that the president decided to call only his fourth press conference since becoming president." In it, President Trump defended not having the FBI investigate the Kavanaugh allegations and called them collectively a "big fat con job." "That is a harsh attack on these women," he said, "but it would make an honest slogan: 'Trump 2020, A Big Fat Con Job.'"

Colbert encouraged everyone to watch Trump's press conference, which ended while he was delivering his monologue, "and I can't convey to you the shambling mess that reassured no one who's going to see it." Republicans are plowing ahead with the Kavanaugh hearing tomorrow, "with only one of the accusers" and "no witnesses, and then a vote the next day at 9:30 in the morning," Colbert said. "Now, I'm not normally in the business of giving Republican senators advice, but gentlemen — and I use that term inaccurately — you need to call for an FBI investigation now and get to the truth of all these dark allegations. Because if you don't, there are not enough moths in the world to drink your tears on Nov. 6." Watch below. Peter Weber

September 27, 2018

President Trump was still holding his solo press conference when the late-night shows taped on Wednesday, but Trump provided enough crazy material that they fit in what they could. Late Night's Seth Meyers started with Trump's inadvertent laugh line at the United Nations on Tuesday, which Meyers cast as a cautionary tale for when Trump tells one of his canned lies outside his sycophantic bubble. "He had no idea what he was saying was funny," Meyers said, and he tried to claim his line about accomplishing more than any president in history was meant to get a laugh. Meyers wasn't buying it. "So you've been doing that joke for two years, and the first time it ever worked was at the U.N.?"

Finally, Meyers got to the press conference. "Now, a lot of what you're going to hear is going to sound insane," he warned, playing clips of Trump claiming China loves his "big, big brain" and spinning a "deluded conspiracy theory" where Democrats dreamed up all the allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and now gather in a room to "laugh like hell" at what they've pulled off. "No, dude, they're not the ones laughing," Meyers said. "You're thinking of the United Nations."

To wit, via The Late Show.

Today was a reminder of why Trump doesn't hold solo press conferences "and why nobody wants him to do it on his team," Trevor Noah said on The Daily Show. "It is the wildest incoherent ramblings of words put together." He focused on Trump's spiel about how the Democrats would block George Washington if he nominated him, imagined Washington and his friends in the afterlife when their text alerts went off, then worried about Washington's reputation. Trump "has this insane, innate talent for destroying people's lives when he vouches for them," he said, pointing to Kavanaugh. "Like, I wouldn't be shocked if George Washington gets removed from Mount Rushmore because of Trump." Peter Weber

September 14, 2018

Stephen Colbert was impressed with The Weather Channel's terrifying new graphics for Hurricane Florence, less impressed with President Trump's tweets about Puerto Rico's hurricanes last year. "Folks, if you watch this show, you know we kid the president about being a terrible person, but in reality, it is much worse than we could have imagined," he said on Thursday's Late Show. He read Trump's tweets about the Hurricane Maria death toll being massively inflated to harm him politically, noting that "not only is this a sickening tweet, it is in no way true."

The estimated number of deaths — 2,975 U.S. citizens — came from a government-commissioned study by researchers from George Washington University, and while it might be politically damaging, it would probably have been buried under all the other Trump-related news if Trump hadn't tweeted about it, Colbert said. "It was kind of like he was on trial for littering and said on the stand: 'I only threw that cup out of my window because I was distracted by the homeless man I ran over. Pretty sure he died of old age, okay? Democrats pushed him in front of my car.'"

Speaking of chaos, Republicans think Trump is going to fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions soon, but they also don't believe anyone could get confirmed to replace him and, in any case, no Republican wants the job, Colbert said, reading some responses. And meanwhile, the Trump Organization's former VP of construction just told a story in a New York Daily News op-ed about Trump ordering the Trump Tower architect to (illegally) get rid of Braille in the elevators, reportedly yelling: "No blind people are going to live in Trump Tower." Maybe, "but if you've seen Trump tower, I'm pretty sure blind people decorated it," Colbert joked. "You'd think Trump would love Braille — it's like reading through groping." Watch below. Peter Weber

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