Late Night Tackles Trump versus reality
May 19, 2020

"Just when you think things can't get any weirder," Stephen Colbert said on Monday's Late Show, President Trump "cranks it up to 11 and then swallows the knob." Also, hydoroxychloroquine, as Trump revealed Monday. "It was such a shocking statement that even Fox News had to clap back," he said.

"Now, in addition to the president slowly poisoning himself with the Dr. Jekyll method, the other big news is that on Friday, Trump removed the inspector general for the State Department," his third such Friday night firing in six weeks, Colbert said. Trump blamed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who the inspector general was investigation for misusing government resources and stonewalling Congress over an $8 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia.

"We heard a lot more from the president this weekend, but it was from the one we like," Barack Obama, who gave two virtual commencement speeches on Saturday," Colbert said. They included "a thinly veiled swipe at Donald Trump," and Trump, in return, called Obama a "grossly incompetent" president.

Tooning Out the News illustrated Trump's incompetence retort.

Say what you want about Obama — "he certainly had his flaws as president — but it was so comforting just to hear a politician capable of showing empathy and compassion and talking in coherent sentences," Late Night's Seth Meyers said. "It's both revealing and depressing that when Obama talks about grown-ups behaving like little children, we all know exactly who he's talking about. I mean, there's no mystery. Even Trump knows."

It is "crazy how Obama never even had to mention Trump by name," Trevor Noah agreed at The Daily Show. "But as subtle as Obama's criticism may have been, it apparently set off a five-alarm outrage fire over at Fox News," he said. "Look, there's no denying that Obama went out of his way to dis Trump in the speech. But I genuinely find it hilarious that Fox News — Fox News! — is going to spend all day being offended about how a former president doesn't have decorum when the current president literally interrupted a pandemic briefing to remind everybody how he boned models."

Noah also panned the graduation speech from Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb): "Anyone can deliver a speech that inspires people, but it takes a real leader to deliver a commencement speech that makes you wish you had booked Ted Cruz." Watch COVID-19 give its own address below. Peter Weber

December 10, 2019

"It's 16 days until Christmas, but we got a little present today ahead of time from the inspector general of the Justice Department," Stephen Colbert said on Monday's Late Show. For years, President Trump has insisted that "the 2016 Russia probe started only because of anti-Trump bias in the FBI. He said that was the real scandal. Well, today, after months of investigating, the DOJ inspector released his report finding no bias, concluding that the FBI had sufficient evidence to lawfully open the Russia investigation."

"Okay, there it is," Colbert said. "Truth wins. This wasn't an overthrow of the government, this wasn't even an attempted overthrow, and no one was 'in on it.'" He chose those words because, as he showed, Trump used them to claim the exact opposite. "Okay, I didn't read that part," Colbert deadpanned. "So you're saying the 'Deep State' was trying to overthrow your government when they started the Russia investigation in July of 2016, before you were elected?" Nothing Trump said "was actually in the report," he emphasized. Trump is just spinning "an alternate reality he wants to exist."

"So on one level, obviously, this is fun, and ha ha ha," Colbert said. "But it's also really dangerous, because why have an election if next Nov. 3 he can just say, 'I just saw the election results — I won all 50 states, plus Manitoba'?" The report also had some new information about former British spy Christopher Steele, who compiled the infamous dossier on Trump. Steele said he was "favorably disposed" toward the Trump family before he started digging, because he had "been friendly" with Ivanka Trump, Colbert noted. He also touched on Trump's impeachment, bizarre speech to a Jewish group over the weekend, and ... Ivanka. Watch below. Peter Weber

September 6, 2019

Hurricane Dorian is churning up the East Coast, but President Trump "is still obsessed with Alabama," Stephen Colbert said on Thursday's Last Show. Trump's Sharpie edit Wednesday on an outdated NOAA map of Dorian's path "looked stupid, and kind of sad," so he tweeted out another outdated map, this one from the South Florida Water Management District. "That's like getting your MRI at Glamour Shots," he joked. And "Trump stayed laser-focused on where it might have used to have been" throughout the day.

Dorian's "storm surge has come ashore in the country that this man governs," Colbert said. "Hundreds of thousands of people are presently without power. What's it going to be like when he visits the victims of the storm? 'So sad to see the damage here in South Carolina — or as many call it, East Alabama.'"

Yes, when he wasn't tweet-attacking Debra Messing, "Trump's No. 1 focus today was to try to convince us yet again that he wasn't wrong about this hurricane heading toward Alabama," Jimmy Kimmel said at Kimmel Live. "He tweeted six times about this today," and "I have to say, there is no question in my mind, he now wants Alabama to be hit by a hurricane. He is dying for this to happen."

"Remember when Donald Trump vowed to take out ISIS?" Kimmel asked. "I guess that didn't happen so instead he's going after Will and Grace and Debra 'The Mess' Messing. But that's what happens when you have nothing to do all day — idle hands are the Devil's tiny workshop."

"Trump has been at war with reality virtually his entire adult life," and this Alabama hurricane obsession is just "one of its most insane turns," Seth Meyers said at Late Night, revisiting some of Trump's other easily debunked whoppers. "This whole thing perfectly captures the constant, exhausting bewilderment of living through the Trump Era. There's a very real humanitarian crisis unfolding in the Bahamas, and a dangerous hurricane is threatening the mainland U.S., and meanwhile the president is obsessing over a map he doctored to defend an embarrassing mistake that he is now repeatedly lying about." Watch below. Peter Weber

June 11, 2019

President Trump spent the weekend hailing a deal in which Mexico agreed to stanch the flow of immigrants to the U.S. in return for Trump not imposing tariffs he had threatened to levy on all Mexican goods. "So, according to Donald Trump, Donald Trump was the hero, saving the world's economy from the clutches of that maniac Donald Trump," Stephen Colbert recapped on Monday's Late Show. Then it emerged that the deal wasn't new — "the threats of tariffs, the negotiations, the deal itself were all fake. It was like some sort of theater, in this case The Lyin' King."

But if Mexico had agreed to these border actions months ago, why negotiate? Presumably to save presidential face, Colbert said, "and anyone on Trump's makeup team knows that's not an easy task." Facing criticism, Trump evidently made up imaginary agricultural side agreements with Mexico then whined that he never gets any credit. Colbert was sympathetic: "It's true, Trump gets no credit — that's why he had to borrow the money from the Russians."

Trump averting his own crisis is "what I love about this guy," Trevor Noah said at The Daily Show. "Anyone can be a good guy, anyone can be a bad guy, not everyone can be both. He's Bruce Willis and the guys who have taken the building hostage, that's who he is! He's the kind of guy who starts the timer on the bomb, then turns around and is like: 'Jesus! This sicko only gave us 3 minutes!'"

Trump probably canceled his tariffs, despite Mexico agreeing to nothing new, because "things at home were getting muy caliente," Noah explained: "Trump was threatening Mexico, and Mexico was in turn threatening U.S. businesses, and then U.S. businesses were threatening the GOP, and the GOP was threatening Trump. Damn, he was always going to lose this! You never get into a Mexican standoff with actual Mexicans — it's too risky." He ended with an R&B-inspired admiration for Trump's claim of a secret side deal. Watch below. Peter Weber

March 13, 2019

On Tuesday's Late Show, Stephen Colbert said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) "he's just not worth it" response to impeaching President Trump is "clearly reverse psychology," made fun of Pelosi's Lent-thwarting chocolate addiction, and noted the disconnect between Trump's promise to "protect Medicare" and his proposal to slash its budget by $818 billion. "Yes, we will protect Medicare from those greedy old people," he said in Trump voice.

"Trump also weighed in on the Ethiopian Airlines crash," but not to console the families of the 157 people who died, Colbert said. Instead, he "railed against the Boeing 737 MAX 8" in a tweet about how "often older and simpler is far better" when it comes to aircraft and other products. "He should know," Colbert said. "We've never had a president older or simpler."

The Late Show also visualized Trump's aviation advice.

"Yeah, what happened to the old days when plans had propellers and you could smoke on 'em, and when you wanted peanuts, you just give the stewardess a little smack on the ass and she'd get it for you?" Jimmy Kimmel deadpanned on Kimmel Live. "I say let's go back to the days of FAX machines and tuberculosis!" Kimmel also wished Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) a happy 72nd birthday and showed the video his staff took of the Twinkie cake. "I think we learned more about Mitt Romney from this video than we did during the entire campaign in 2012," he said, observing that Romney blows out candles "like an alien to our planet."

It's "fitting" that Twinkies are Romney's favorite snack, Colbert said. "Just like Twinkies, Mitt Romney doesn't age and he's even whiter on the inside. But the weird part is Romney blew out the candles by picking them up and blowing them out individually. ... Everything he does is like an alien googled 'How to do a normal.'" Colbert ran through some other short-and-sweet stories, but watch to the end for a brutal Tucker Carlson joke. Peter Weber

March 12, 2019

President Trump's re-election campaign is already an "unstoppable apparatus," according to Trump's campaign, and that doesn't come cheap, Stephen Colbert said on Monday's Late Show. "Trump's already rakin' in money. On Friday night he spoke to Republican donors at Mar-a-Lago, and things got a little weird." For example, Trump brought up his "Tim Apple" slip, for some reason. The jokes about his flub were "all in good fun, and it was over," he said, "but now it has re-blossomed into a national scandal that we're calling Applegate (Not Christina)."

Trump reportedly told the donors he actually said "Tim Cook Apple," but nobody heard the Cook part, Colbert said, laughing. "Mr. President, words don't just disappear from the middle of sentences — unless it's CBS bleeping me when I say excuses like this are [bleep] insane," he said. "Even Trump's own donors, who had to donate at least six-figures to get into this event where he told this lie, knew the story was nuts."

"Do you know what I like about this one? It's just dumb," Trevor Noah said at The Daily Show. It "should have been just a fun slip of the tongue — we laugh, we move on — but because Donald Compulsive Liar can't let anything go," he keeps on dragging it out, including a laughable tweet on Monday. Noah moved on to other recent "fun Trump highlights," like the resurgent "Fake Melania" fake news and "another story that Trump wishes was fake news," involving Patriots owner Robert Kraft, the prostitution-linked "day spa" he allegedly frequented, and Kraft's friend Trump.

The former owner of the day spa, Li (Cindy) Yang, watched the Super Bowl with Trump at his Florida club, "and it's not just that she's taking photos with the president — it's that she might be pimping him out, too," Noah said. "How does every scandal somehow lead back to Donald Trump? Like, this dude is like the Kevin Bacon of corruption." Watch him demonstrate below. Peter Weber

January 30, 2019

Stephen Colbert began Tuesday's Late Show talking about the weather — specifically, the really, really cold weather that's slamming the upper Midwest. "Wind chill temperatures are expected to reach minus 50 in Chicago and minus 60 in Minneapolis," he said. "I'm gonna say it, the viral marketing for Game of Thrones has gone too far. We get it, 'winter is coming.' It's a very dangerous situation, and last night our president had a message for those facing the big chill." Well, a tweet actually, the gist of it being a misspelled slam on climate change.

"It said 'Global Waming,'" Colbert said. "These temperatures are actually caused by Global Waming, sir. Polar vortex breaks up and dips south, it's all predicted. Besides, just because it's cold now doesn't mean climate change is a myth." He moved on to other "things that Trump hopes aren't real," namely "the Muller investigation," and Tuesday's court date for Roger Stone. Stone "claims to be innocent, but his Richard Nixon back tattoo begs to differ," he said, letting the tattoo speak for itself.

But if you believe "fake Attorney General" Matthew Whitaker, Stone may be one of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's last trophies, Colbert said. "He just needs to cross his T's and indict his Don Jr.'s." Whitaker "seems really nervous," he added. "Is this the attorney general or the henchman coming back to tell the evil queen he doesn't have Snow White's heart in a box?" Colbert acted that out. People are debating whether Whitaker should have put a timeline on an ongoing federal infestation and "what it means, or whatever," he said. "What I care about is how hard he is sweating when he says it. I think we know where the global warming has gone." He had a suggestion for Whitaker. Watch below. Peter Weber

November 29, 2018

In an interview with The Washington Post on Tuesday, President Trump said that when it comes to fiscal policy, "my gut tells me more sometimes than anybody else's brain can ever tell me." When Stephen Colbert read the interview, he said on Wednesday's Late Show, "that quote about trusting your gut over the brains of experts reminded me of someone I used to know: me. Because when I played a conservative pundit on my old show, The Colbert Report, I talked about that on my very first episode." He showed the clip, and he wasn't wrong.

"Trump stole my bit!" Colbert protested. "That is clear copyright infringement. He is stealing my anti-intellectual property." He jokingly threatened to sue.

Colbert returned to the Post interview when discussing a dire new federal report. "This report is an urgent call to fight climate change, so naturally the Trump White House released it the Friday after Thanksgiving — they actually hid it in a Tupperware with the leftover green bean casserole," he deadpanned. "But some nosy-Nelly reporters out there actually got it and read it, some had questions for the president."

And Trump had some puzzling responses, like that the report is "fine." "If I had to describe this report in one word, it would not be 'fine,'" Colbert said. "It would be a different word that begins with F — as in, if you don't believe in climate change at this point, you are fined in the head." He laughed off Trump's claim to have "very high levels of intelligence" "But maybe the best part of the entire interview was his explanation of how climate works," Colbert said, reading an extended passage in Trump voice. He paused a beat. "I have heard better explanations of weather from toddlers on Benadryl."

The Late Show also had a brief response to a particular pro-Trump defense of using tear gas on migrant children. Watch below. Peter Weber

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