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Late Night Tackles Trump and Immigration
November 2, 2018

At an official White House speech on immigration Thursday evening, President Trump started by saying that under his leadership, America has been a welcoming country. "Good plan, Mr. President, warm up the crowd with a joke," Stephen Colbert said on Thursday's Late Show.

"Trump also unveiled a strange new gun policy," Colbert said, where a rock will be treated as a firearm. "Yes, a firearm. What do you think AR-15 stands for? A Rock-15." But Trump wasn't done with his "rocks-are-guns theory," he said, calling a rock just like a rifle. "So, for the record, paper no longer beats rock," Colbert joked. "And Trump is encouraging shooting unarmed immigrants to appeal to the ladies," saying women really do not want immigrants in the country. "Believe me," Colbert said in his Trump voice, "because I am the embodiment of what women do not want."

And "Trump believes the GOP is gonna do well because he appeals to Christians," Colbert said, playing a clip and cracking a joke about Jesus (Spanish pronunciations) and his "caravan of 12 strong young men. And I hear there's a lot of Middle Easterners mixed in there."

"Last night, Trump held a rally in Florida where he attacked immigrants, Democrats, and the media," Jimmy Fallon said on The Tonight Show. "Even the biggest Trump supporters in the crowd were like 'Play some new stuff!'" He cleverly turned Trump's nonstop campaigning into a Johnny Cash song, and came up with closing arguments for Senate candidates, like Florida's Rick Scott (R): "Vote for me so I will finally be able to STOP HARRY POTTER."

Late Night's Seth Meyers was less genial. "Trump's racist fearmongering over immigration is the latest scam from a guy who's been scamming people his entire life, and he's right at home in the modern GOP," he said. "They're robbing you, and they're trying to distract you while they do it." Watch below. Peter Weber

November 1, 2018

"Leading up to the election, [President] Trump's a little nervous, so he's tried everything to scare his base into voting for Republicans, and today he spoke about a threat to the one thing most precious to him: money," Stephen Colbert said on Wednesday's Late Show. Trump is warning that if Democrats are elected, the markets will go down. Economists and market analysts say that's not what's going on, but what Trump's doing, "I think that's called extortion," Colbert said, switching into Trump voice: "Look, I'm just gonna say, real nice economy you got here, I'd hate to see something happen to it. I'm just saying, I've stuffed the Dow with oily rags and my son Eric loves to play with matches."

From a comedy standpoint, the best part of Trump's economic fearmongering is that he bases his expertise in macroeconomics on his hosting a reality show, Colbert said. But his vow on Twitter that birthright citizenship "will be ended one way or another" had a darker edge. "Is he threatening babies?" he asked. Trump's newest round of caravan fearmongering, meanwhile, includes tweets to the caravanning migrants. Colbert was bemused: "Does he think the folks in the caravan are reading his tweets?"

The Daily Show's Trevor Noah had a beef with Trump and Fox News calling the migrants "illegal," when they aren't even near the U.S. and asylum is a legal process. But he didn't let other media companies off the hook. "Fox makes it an antagonistic thing, but I've noticed other news networks in America specifically seem to focus on what the caravan means to America, and less on what the caravan means to the people in the caravan," Noah said. He recounted that when things were really bad in Zimbabwe, he and other South Africans knew what refugees were escaping because the South African press covered the Zimbabwean crisis from the Zimbabwean perspective. Watch below. Peter Weber

October 31, 2018

"Hundreds of people in Pittsburgh spontaneously showed up to protest as President Trump visited the synagogue where 11 people were killed on Saturday in yet another mass shooting," Jimmy Kimmel said on Tuesday's Kimmel Live. The president ignored pleas from local rabbis and the mayor to sit this one out. But the president, you know all he wants is bring people together. And his new plan to make that happen? He says he's going to issue an executive order that would end what's known as birthright citizenship," despite that being enshrined in the 14th Amendment. "It's a bold move," Kimmel joked, "because usually when Trump makes an executive order, it comes with four biscuits, two cups of mashed potatoes, and 10 pieces of the Colonel's extra-crispy fried chicken."

Kimmel played Trump's interview, with Axios, where he falsely stated that the U.S. is the only country with birthright citizenship (more than 30 other nations do, too, including Canada and Mexico) and said the law is ridiculous and has to end. "'It's ridiculous and it has to end' should be the slogan for his re-election campaign," Kimmel quipped. He turned to Trump's continued hyping of "that caravan all the nuts are so scared of."

Kimmel cracked some jokes about the caravan, but Stephen Colbert's Late Show turned it into a Trumpean horror flick.

Kimmel also had a good laugh at the bumbling plot to falsely accuse Special Counsel Robert Mueller of sexual misconduct. That's "very clever: You witch hunt the witch hunter — that way, people won't know which witch hunter to hunt," he said. And the details are even better, including the fact that one of the apparent conspirators, pro-Trump conspiracist Jacob Wohl, linked the plot to his mother's phone number. "I like a scandal that involves a Verizon family plan, you know?" Kimmel joked. "So Jacob might be in trouble with the FBI and grounded by his mother, too." Watch below. Peter Weber

October 31, 2018

The midterms are just a week away, "and this year, the campaigns have been dominated by fear and just really terrible, heartbreaking events," Stephen Colbert said on Tuesday's Late Show. "That's why for Halloween, instead of decorating my house with witches and goblins, I just hung up newspapers."

"Now, our fearmonger-in-chief, the Great Pumpkin," he said, "he knows how to stoke the fear, he knows how to appeal to the Latino-phobic, his Hispanickers, if you will. So this morning, Trump revealed that he was planning an executive order to end birthright citizenship." The idea that people born in the U.S. are American is enshrined in the 14th Amendment, "and it's been reaffirmed multiple times by the Supreme Court over the last 150 years," Colbert said. "But Trump says that his executive order has more legal authority than the 14th Amendment. What do you call a man, a leader of a country, who thinks that what he dictates is more important than the Constitution?" He eventually came up with the d-word he was looking for.

Colbert quickly fact-checked Trump's claims about birthright citizenship, then pivoted to the migrant caravan Trump has been hyping for weeks, noting that he "brought some interesting adjectives to the table" Monday night in a Fox News interview. He ran with Trump's description of the caravan's "young, strong" men, adding that "the most cunning part" of the scare campaign is that "these healthy young men — these strong, young men — are also incredibly sick."

"To combat one of the things he wants you to be afraid of, Trump has announced a plan to deploy 5,200 troops to the southern border," Colbert said, noting the Pentagon's "powerful name for this mission: Operation Faithful Patriot." He had a slightly ruder alternate name.

Jimmy Fallon went another direction on the idea of Trump as a fearmonger, and you can watch his turn as "Count Trumpula" on The Tonight Show below. Peter Weber

June 27, 2018

"I've got good news and I've got bad news," Stephen Colbert, "that guy from CBS," said on Tuesday's Late Show. "The bad news is I lied, there's no good news." In a 5-4 vote Tuesday, the Supreme Court "fell for" President Trump's argument that his Muslim ban was really a "travel ban," he explained. "Oooh, 5-4 — this close to being able to look our grandchildren in the eye." Chief Justice John Roberts ignored all of Trump's anti-Muslim comments to reach his decision and ruled that Trump's campaign rhetoric may not be legally determinative. "So the things he said during the campaign may not be true?" Colbert deadpanned. "Wait! Does that mean he's not making America great?"

Trump celebrated the decision on Twitter and with congressional Republicans, then laid out his new immigration plan: "I'm sorry, you can't come in." Hey, Colbert said, "stop stealing your ideas from the sign on Melania's door." Trump also offered some puzzling thoughts on finding immigration judges. "All right, who had 'Make barbers judges' on their Trump meltdown pool?" Colbert asked. "I was close; I had 'Appoint golden retriever to the Supreme Court.'"

Late Night's Seth Meyers also found Trump's comments about judges puzzling, focusing on a Trump rally Monday night in South Carolina. "What other country has judges?" he repeated. "Lots of them — most other countries. In the Netherlands, they even have judges at a special court in The Hague, and who knows? Maybe you'll get to meet them someday." Meyers put the Supreme Court upholding the Muslim ban among the ways "Trump and the GOP only care about seizing political power and then using it to restrict the rights of marginalized people." You can watch his "closer look" below. Peter Weber

June 26, 2018

The Trump administration still hasn't said "what they're going to do to put these stolen [migrant] kids back together with their parents, and no indication that they could successfully do so," Stephen Colbert said on Monday's Late Show. "So, 23andme is donating DNA kits to help reunite migrant families." He suggested they check President Trump's DNA, too, to "find out what species can survive that long without a heart." Even migrant children lucky enough to be reunited with their families face a long time in detention due to a backlog in immigration cases. "Now, the obvious answer is hire more judges to deal with the backlog," Colbert said. "But Trump has a different answer," skipping the whole judge and court thing and moving straight to deportation.

"Here's the thing: If you deny anyone due process, you deny everyone due process," he said. "If you can't show your documents to a judge, your passport is as useless as your Blockbuster card. Being identified as a suspect is the same as being guilty." The Supreme Court has consistently held that everyone in the U.S. has Fifth and 14th Amendment due process rights, even unlawful immigrants, and Colbert imagined Trump's reply to that: "Well, what do you expect from the Failing U.S. Constitution? Low Energy founding fathers had terrible ratings. None of them — not many people know this — none of then were born in the United States. I say we ship them back to the 13 colonies.'"

We may not know when the kids will be reunited with their parents, but we know they are required to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. "You can't make migrant children recite the Pledge of Allegiance to a country where they're not welcome!" Colbert protested. "That would be like if a job recruiter for Chili's said, 'We don't hire your kind here — now please sing, 'I want my baby-back, baby-back, baby-back.'" Watch below. Peter Weber

June 21, 2018

"Everyone has been blaming President Trump for this week's border crisis, but it wasn't his idea alone," Trevor Noah said on Wednesday's Daily Show. "We can also thank Trump's senior policy adviser Stephen Miller." He brought out Michael Kosta and asked him how Miller, the architect of Trump's harshest immigration policies, could "support causing so much pain?" Kosta mocked him: "Calm down, snowflakes, okay? What you've got to understand is, riling up liberals is Stephen Miller's thing." And then in the guise of pointing out how Miller is impervious to insults from the "libs," they both spent the next few minutes absolutely wrecking Miller.

On The Late Show, Stephen Colbert interviewed him — or, rather, actor Peter Grosz doing his most dead-eyed Miller impersonation — about the "next draconian move" he's been planning, now that Trump is rolling back his family-separation policy. (Miller "actually enjoys seeing those pictures at the border," a White House adviser told Vanity Fair, Colbert noted. "He's a twisted guy, the way he was picked on.") "What could be harsher than putting kids in a cage?" Colbert asked "Miller," who responded: "Well, putting one kid in many cages! I'm just joking of course, Stephen. Just like Seinfeld. What is the deal?!?" You can watch more of their stylized awkward banter below. Peter Weber

June 21, 2018

"Our long national nightmare is ... different," Stephen Colbert said on Wednesday's Late Show, "because after weeks of tearing families apart at the border, and then falsely insisting that only Congress could solve the problem," President Trump realized he didn't like how the policy made him feel and took a stab at ending it. He ribbed Trump for insisting this couldn't be done through an executive order, and then signing an executive order to do it. But "here's the thing," Colbert said. "Trump made it a big signing ceremony to make it look like he did something good instead of admitting he was just ending the evil thing he started."

Yes, Trump is "reuniting families — in prison," maybe, "but even if this was the perfect plan — and it's not," Colbert said, "none of these folks in the administration or anyone who defended them are off the moral meathook here. Because they didn't change this policy because they thought they were wrong — they changed it because it made 70 percent of Americans sick to their stomach. And make no mistake: Trump folded. He folded like an origami Trump casino." That's a first, he added, and the final straw was probably the "tender age" shelters for seized babies and toddlers. And caging babies "was hurting the most vulnerable," Colbert deadpanned: "Members of the Trump administration."

The Late Show imagined Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen's interrupted Mexican dinner out as a very bad first date.

Colbert also spared a thought for Corey Lewandowski, "hung out to dry by Trump's ethical backpedal" for going "all in on the evil" and attaching his name forever to mocking disabled children in cages with the sad-trombone sound. "For those of you keeping track of Trump's three campaign mangers," he said, "one was 'womp womp' right there, the other guy's in jail now, and the third is Steve Bannon, the nice one?" Watch below. Peter Weber

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