Late Night Tackles Trump
June 23, 2020

President Trump flew to Tulsa on Saturday for his first rally in months, and The Late Show summed up how it went Monday night in an homage to Oklahoma.

"Saturday night's rally was supposed to be Trump's big moment," Stephen Colbert said. His campaign "was so overconfident about the attendance, they built an 'overflow' stage outside" for 40,000 excess Trump fans. "Instead, the crowd was 25 people," he said. "To put this disaster in perspective, the arena Trump spoke in can hold more than 19,000 people, but only 6,200 people attended. That's one-third capacity! Now I don't want to be a glass-half-empty kind of guy, but half empty would be a huge improvement."

"Aw, poor Trump," Trevor Noah deadpanned at The Daily Show. "For somebody who was born into wealth and never suffered a single consequence for his actions, this dude just cannot catch a break." Coronavirus fears almost certainly depressed turnout, but Trump was also "foiled by a bunch of meddling kids" and K-pop fans, he laughed.

By the time Trump's helicopter landed back at the White House, "it was clear that all of those empty seats really took a toll," Noah said. "Honestly, it's weird to see Trump display emotion — it's actually uncomfortable," he added. "But I think this experience was the first time Trump actually felt the full weight and severity of the coronavirus pandemic. And what finally got to him wasn't the 122,000 lives lost in America, but instead the 12,800 empty seats in an arena."

Tooning Out the News tried to pep up Trump's "walk of shame" by drawing in cheerful Secret Service agents.

"We should never have to see the president in such a pathetic state — it's embarrassing," Late Night's Seth Meyers said. "Trump is now and always has been a historically unpopular president, he's just been able to mask his unpopularity and soothe his ego with large crowds." He "staked his political fortunes and his ego on this rally," Meyers said, and instead of mounting "a big show of political strength," he had a total "flop."

"You can tell the Trump campaign may be lowering expectations because the next rally is being held inside the birthday room at Dave & Buster's," Jimmy Fallon joked at The Tonight Show. He sighed at Trump's long story about drinking water and walking down a ramp, was less amused at Trump's testing confesssion: "If Trump wants fewer people showing up for tests, he should just hold his next rally at a testing site." Watch below. Peter Weber

January 10, 2018

President Trump held a meeting Tuesday with Democrats and Republicans on immigration, "mainly on our policy of not having immigrants," Stephen Colbert said on Tuesday's Late Show, and "the stakes are high: If the two sides can't find a compromise, the federal government is going to shut down on Jan. 20 — or as historians call it, one year too late." Trump seemed bullish on reaching a bipartisan solution on immigration, but the price he laid out last week included an $18 billion down payment on his Mexico border wall.

Colbert noted that Trump insisted Mexico would pay for the wall, then laughed at Trump saying last weekend he still believes Mexico will pay for it "in some form"; Colbert suggested "free guac on your birthday" as a realistic possibility.

In Tuesday's meeting, it was clear both Republicans and Democrats want a path to citizenship for DREAMers, but Republicans want it paired with the wall and Democrats don't. "And for a brief, shining moment, the president agreed with the Democrats," Colbert said. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) talked Trump down, but he "showed his master negotiator skills" again by conceding that the wall needn't cover all 2,000 miles of the border. "We all remember the famous chant from the Trump campaign rallies," Colbert said: "Build the Wall! Unless the local terrain provides sufficient enough protection and can act as a natural wall proxy! MAGA!"

The big news in the Russia investigation on Tuesday was the release of Senate testimony from the head of GPS Fusion on the Trump-Russia dossier. Republicans had blocked the released of the testimony, "but today, Sen. Dianne Feinstein said, 'F--k it, I'm 84, here it is.'" Special Counsel Robert Mueller is also known to be seeking an interview with Trump, and "that's not going to be easy to get," Colbert said. "That's why Mueller is currently going undercover at Fox & Friends." The photo is really something. Watch below. Peter Weber

May 11, 2017

The last 48 hours "have been a disaster for the White House," Seth Meyers said on Thursday's Late Night, with such standout moments as Sean Spicer's late-night rendezvous with some bushes and President Trump's contradiction-filled interview with NBC's Lester Holt.

Ever since Trump fired former FBI Director James Comey on Tuesday, "the White House has been engulfed in chaos," Meyers said. In a truly bizarre moment on Tuesday night, Spicer was seen trying to avoid cameras by lurking in some bushes on the White House grounds, The Washington Post reported. Someone in the Trump administration must have complained to the Post about this, because they issued a correction saying he was actually "huddled among bushes," not "in the bushes." "When the White House is clarifying the press secretary's position in relation to bushes, it's important to remember America is both among and in deep s—t," Meyers said.

Then there's Trump. After making such a "momentous and controversial decision," Meyers said, you'd think the president would want to explain to the public what was going on, but that didn't happen until two days later, when his interview with Holt aired. The White House originally maintained that Comey's firing had nothing to do with the FBI's investigation into Russia, and Trump made his decision on the recommendation of Rod Rosenstein, deputy attorney general, and that was their story until Thursday, when Trump contradicted "every argument his team had made on his behalf, saying the whole thing was his idea," Meyers said. "He just admitted everything the White House has been saying since Tuesday is a lie. Trump's ego is so huge he can't even let somebody else have the spotlight in his alibi."

Trump also mentioned to Holt that, even though he claimed to have asked Comey if he was under investigation and was told no, he knew this already because he didn't submit any paperwork to anyone, a sure sign that an investigation is underway. "I guess there's one upside to being sued as much as Trump has; he's an expert on being investigated," Meyers said, before going into a Trump impression: "Believe me, I know when I'm being investigated. In fact, 'How to Know You're Under Investigation' was one of the most popular classes at Trump University." Watch the video below. Catherine Garcia

November 3, 2016

Stephen Colbert began Wednesday's Late Show monologue noting that polls are tight in the presidential race, then mentioned that Donald Trump is urging Hillary Clinton supporters to change their votes — which is apparently something you can do in some states. Colbert was having none of it. "I don't know what you learned as a kid, but no fair changies," he said. "No backsies. You vote, you're stuck with it. It's like a tattoo." Trump is also selling spots on his donor wall — though before you send Trump your $49, read Dana Milbank's story in The Washington Post of how Trump "stiffed" him. "That's right — Donald Trump is building a wall and making his donors pay for it," Colbert said.

Colbert then turned to Trump supporters, and one in particular. "Sometimes one bad apple makes all of the other apples seem racist," he said, cueing up that video of the guy at a Trump rally yelling "Jew-S-A!" "It is absolutely horrible to hear that sort of anti-Semitic language," he said. "Usually you just read it in Yahoo comments." But a newspaper tracked the man down, and he explained that he wasn't yelling "Jew-S-A" but rather trying to make the Mexicans in the crowd feel better about their accents and he was "just horsing around" when he said "the Jews run the country." "I'm going to call this the worst excuse of all time," Colbert said.

"So this election has now officially ruined everything," he said: "Horses, taco bowls, Billy Bush's career, and now — brace yourself — it's ruined yogurt." Because the founder of Chobani yogurt is helping migrants and refugees, people are proposing a boycott and posting vile and racist things on its social media pages. "And its no surprise that online trolls are in a race to the bottom, because that's where all the fruit is," Colbert said. He ended by noting that Glamour has named Bono as its first male woman of the year, because he gets it. Colbert rolled his eyes: "It's like the old saying: In front of every great woman stands a guy who really gets it." Watch below. Peter Weber

November 2, 2016

Donald Trump clearly "underestimated the incredible amount of public scrutiny he'd get as a presidential candidate," Seth Meyers said on Tuesday's Late Night, "and now that scrutiny may be hurting him in the place he cares about most: his wallet." And it's not just Trump's "brand" — though there are signs that's taken a hit, too, Meyers said. It's his character.

"Remember, before he became a presidential candidate, Donald Trump was a blustery New York City businessman known mostly to voters not for the person he was behind closed doors but for the character he played in tabloids and on TV," Meyers said. Well, this long campaign has "unearthed for public view all kinds of deeply unflattering information about Trump's business record, from his six bankruptcies to his loss of nearly $1 billion in 1995," and Monday night, The New York Times reported that Trump avoided paying taxes on hundreds of millions of dollars by using a maneuver "so legally dubious" it was later outlawed by Congress. Trump's excuse has been to blame Hillary Clinton for not banning those tax loopholes Trump jumped through.

"There was also the impression that because Trump was wealthy he must also be smart, but the image of Trump as a genius billionaire has also been undercut during this campaign," Meyers said, "most recently by his own campaign aides, who talk about him the way you talk about a child." And then there's Trump's so-called philanthropy — the latest story about Trump and a school for children with AIDS prompted a Curb Your Enthusiasm joke that did not involve Bernie Sanders. For more details about how "the character Trump played in tabloids and on TV of a generous, intelligent billionaire has been undercut by his presidential campaign," as Meyers puts it, watch below. Peter Weber

November 1, 2016

"After seeing how easy and fun it is to take random scraps of evidence and spin them into ridiculous conspiracy theories, we decided to try it ourselves," Samantha Bee said on Monday's Full Frontal. Since Donald Trump is a fan of the genre, she began by showing some video of one of Trump's depositions, and one thing really stood out for her, Bee said. "You heard it here first: People are saying Donald Trump can't read." It is, as Bee said, a "ridiculous conspiracy theory," but she insisted, "We have evidence, so much evidence, the best evidence." And it's surprisingly persuasive — which tells you a lot about conspiracy theories.

But of course Donald Trump can read. Right? "Now look, we are not definitively saying that Donald Trump cannot read, we're just asking the question," Bee said. "Mr. Trump, you can very easily clear up these questions — all you have to do is provide a video of yourself reading Barack Obama's long-form birth certificate out loud, and we'll be satisfied that we ended a terrible rumor that Hillary Clinton and Sidney Blumenthal started — shame on them!" There is some NFSW language, but if that doesn't bother you, watch below. Peter Weber

October 26, 2016

The race for Pennsylvania's 20 electoral votes is so intense that a group backing Donald Trump is trying to court the Amish vote, Stephen Colbert said on Tuesday's Late Show, and he thought it was a good move. "This is the perfect demographic for Trump," he said. "They're the only voters left who haven't googled him." The pitch to the Amish includes that Trump is a builder, like them, and "the Amish like the fact that Trump has a family-owned business — whereas Hillary Clinton has a business-owned family," Colbert joked.

To seal the deal, the Trump PAC put up a billboard in Amish country declaring: "Vote Trump: Hard Working, Pro-Life, Family Dedicated... Just Like You." Yes, Colbert said, "in fact, Trump is so dedicated to family, he can't stop starting them." To find out if this courtship is working, he interviewed "Zachariah Miller," an Amish Trump backer played by Will Forte, and he does in fact like that Trump is a builder.

"What about Hillary Clinton? Do the Amish like her?" Colbert asked. "Oh no, we hate her." Miller said. "Why?" Colbert asked. "The emails!" Forte's Miller replied. "Wait, you're mad she deleted them?" Colbert asked. "Oh no, we're mad she uses emails at all," he said. "They're the Devil's thank you notes. Plus she wears no bonnet, the temptress, unlike Mr. Trump, who humbly covers his head with plenty of hay for his horses." If you're wondering at this point why an Amish farmer could even appear on TV, Forte had an answer: Rumspringa. And that also explains the increasingly bizarre turn the interview takes, and its twist ending. Watch below. Peter Weber

October 26, 2016

Donald Trump's campaign launched a new nightly program on Facebook Monday called Trump Tower Live, Jimmy Kimmel noted on Tuesday's Kimmel Live, and some people think this is the precursor to a new Trump-branded media empire, Trump TV, "which is great news — finally we get a chance to see Donald Trump on TV," Kimmel joked. "But if you're wondering what Trump TV might possibly look like, they are already pushing their first scripted series, based on a popular conspiracy theory." He showed a preview, and it combines The Walking Dead and Hillary Clinton supporters. "I think it's going to be a hit," Kimmel said. And were it real, he could be right. Watch below. Peter Weber

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