Late night tackles Trump and coronavirus
May 27, 2020

"This was a weird Memorial Day," Jimmy Kimmel said on Tuesday's Kimmel Live. "I think we can all agree: Zoom barbecues suck. This weekend Donald Trump, by unauthorized presidential order, made a sweeping declaration to open all churches, temples, and places of worship, in an effort to make sure that the most devout Americans can get a chance to contract the coronavirus, too." And Trump, "a man of great faith," he deadpanned, spent Sunday morning golfing.

"You know, people say he's unfit to be president — they forget, he's barely even fit to play golf," Kimmel said. "It looks bad for the president to be golfing with 100,000 Americans dead and a stay-at-home order in place, but try explaining optics to a guy who stared directly into an eclipse," he added, showing the "the brazen hypocrisy" of both Trump and Fox & Friends when it comes to presidential golfing.

Along with his golfing, Trump spent Memorial Day weekend "tweeting nut-job conspiracy theories and mocking Joe Biden for wearing a mask to a Memorial Day event," Kimmel said. He showed some scenes of mask-less crowds on beaches, more beaches, and at a "Zero Ducks Given" pool party at Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri, plus one Staten Island standoff where grocery shoppers yelled a mask-less woman out of the store.

"I have to say, of all the fights we've had over the last few years, this one makes the least sense," Kimmel said. "This is the dumbest standoff ever. We all want to go back to work, we all want to go out to eat, we all want to hang out, none of us want to see people die. So if wearing a mask can help slow the virus and get us back to normal sooner, why not wear a mask? It's so selfish. Are these people also refusing to wash their hands? Or is that for wussies, too?"

The Daily Show's Michael Kosta spoke last week with Florida beach "grim reaper" Daniel Uhlfelder, whose macabre protests in favor of social distancing are, he hopes, giving succor to the mask-wearing majority disheartened by the anti-mitigation protesters. Watch below. Peter Weber

May 22, 2020

"The great state of Michigan is grappling with a series of disasters right now: record unemployment, coronavirus, flooding, and today, a visit from Donald Trump," Stephen Colbert said on Thursday's Late Show. Trump was visiting a Ford plant, and despite the company and Michigan's attorney general asking him to wear a mask, he did not — at least not in front of the media.

"Now, any president can be an idiot, but here's where Donald Trump just takes it to the next level: He was answering questions about not wearing masks in front of a sign about how that factory was making masks," Colbert said. Trump went on to shrug off a second wave of COVID-19 and recount, yet again, the fable of his "Michigan Man of the Year" award. And earlier in the day, he added, "Trump talked about his COVID test results in the most confusing way possible."

Comedian Sarah Cooper pantomimed Trump's positively negative word salad.

"Even his negatives are positive — isn't that something?" Jimmy Kimmel marveled. Trump's muddled answer followed his update on hydroxycholroquine, and "it's pretty clear what's going on here, right? He blurted out that he was taking it just to trigger the news media — successfully, by the way — even though there's no way in hell he's taking this stuff. You think any White House doctor, even a Trump doctor, is gonna give the president a pill that could stop his heart, just because he asked for it?"

Trump was truthful that he wore a mask at the Ford plant, "for a minute — TMZ got a rare shot of Donald Trump in a mask," Kimmel said. "But what is the point of this? Either you wear a mask or you don't wear a mask."

Of course Trump didn't wear a mask in front of the cameras, Late Night's Seth Meyers said. "Widespread mask-wearing — along with testing, contract tracing, and isolation — is one of the few simple measures that could very possibly help us get back to some semblance of normalcy, and yet conservatives have decided to turn it into yet another dumb culture war issue. Some have even theorized that it's a media conspiracy to keep people permanently afraid." Watch his anagram-filled closer look at coronavirus studies, Trump's war on mail-in voting, and the GOP's "insane conspiracy theories" below. Peter Weber

May 21, 2020

"The big story all week has of course been Donald Trump booting hydroxychloroquine," Stephen Colbert said on Wednesday's Late Show. "He's unwilling to wear a mask, but he will take a drug whose side effects include serious heart conditions, including death," plus "blistering, peeling, loosening of the skin; feeling that others can hear your thoughts; feeling, seeing, or hearing things that are not there; unusual behavior; and unusual facial expressions. Oh no! We're too late!"

The U.S. has the highest number of COVID-19 cases and fatalities, "but Donald Trump sees the sunny side of his abject failure," calling it "a badge of honor," Colbert said. Trump has been feuding with the CDC over how fast to lift coronavirus restrictions, "but it's not just the CDC — it's hard to find a medical expert anywhere who agrees with Trump's plan to open the economy without meeting the CDC criteria. Which is why GOP operatives are recruiting 'extremely pro-Trump' doctors to go on television to prescribe reviving the U.S. economy as quickly as possible, without waiting to meet safety benchmarks."

The Late Show invented one of those "pro-Trump" doctors.

"Have you been watching the hydroxy-horror picture show?" Jimmy Kimmel asked. "Our president this week claimed he's been taking hydroxychloroquine," and "the Trumpers who are wary of Big Pharma have started making their own hydroxy at home." He explained why that's "dumb," then showed White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany scolding him for joking Tuesday that Trump "might be trying to kill himself with this drug and we should keep an eye on him."

"All 50 states at least partially reopened for business," even though "17 states are still showing a steady increase in new coronavirus cases," Trevor Noah said at The Daily Show. And Georgia "may actually have been fudging their numbers."

Noah also examined embattled Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's latest scandal, involving "lavish dinners" for hundreds he's been "throwing on the taxpayer dime." Pompeo claims the dinners were for legitimate business, "but how is the CEO of Chick-fil-A gonna help America's foreign policy?" he asked. "It sounds more like Pompeo was using the State Department like his own personal Make-a-Wish Foundation."

Also, Trump is threatening certain states seeking to expand absentee ballots, Noah recounted. "I guess in Trump's mind, voting should be like your wife smiling at you — once a year, in public, and never at home." Watch below. Peter Weber

May 20, 2020

"It wasn't just doctors who were shocked at Trump's self-medicating" with hydroxychloroquine, Stephen Colbert said on Tuesday's Late Show. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi "had some choice words to express her concern for the president," including "a very polite way" of calling Trump morbidly obese. "It's important to point out that fat-shaming is wrong," he said. "Plenty of wonderful people are old and fat and beloved, like Santa. But guess what? Santa shouldn't take hydroxychloroquine, either!"

Trump dismissed Pelosi as "a waste of time," but he lashed out proper at Fox News host Neil Cavuto for warning viewers not to follow Trump's lead.

The Daily Show's Trevor Noah agreed that Pelosi should not have "weight-shamed" Trump, because that hurts everyone overweight, but "as a Democrat, trolling Donald Trump is her constitutional duty." The criticism from Fox News was "more surprising," he said, but mostly "I feel so bad for this guy's secret service."

Trump could also just be skillfully distracting everyone from a story that would ordinarily "blow up into a major scandal," Noah noted. Instead of talking about Trump's firing of the State Department inspector general, at the request of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, we're talking about Trump's drug use.

"You have to hand it to Trump: Just when you think it can't get any crazier, he starts popping FDA-disapproved drugs and telling everyone else to try it, too," Jimmy Kimmel said. "Our president is a hydroxy-moron" who "thinks a lupus drug kills coronavirus." He read some of the side effects. "Why would he do this to prevent coronavirus and not wear a mask to prevent the virus?" Kimmel asked. "I have come to what I think is the only reasonable conclusion: He's trying to kill himself."

Tooning Out the News had its own way of expressing concern for Trump's health.

Hydroxychloroquine's "side effects can potentially include agitation, insomnia, confusion, mania, hallucinations, paranoia, as well as lasting psychiatric and neurological symptoms," Late Night's Seth Meyer noted. "So either Trump's lying about taking it ... or he's been taking it for 73 years?" It's shocking but not surprising, he said, that "a huckster who spent his career pushing scam products and miracle cures" is "doing the same thing with a pandemic" now he's president. Watch below. Peter Weber

May 15, 2020

"Right now our country is in the middle of a fierce debate about listening to medical experts or diving like a drunken frat boy into the gullet of a crocodile," Stephen Colbert said on Thursday's Late Show. While President Trump "keeps trying to lure us out of safety, health experts are warning of dire consequences if we do." The latest is federal vaccine expert Dr. Rick Bright, whose testimony before Congress "was not reassuring," he said. "He was really driving home the 'darkest winter' point, as was his lawyer, Jon Snow."

"With the news focused on today's disturbing testimony, it was only a matter of time before Trump tried to outshine Dr. Bright," Colbert said, running through some of his various comments and tweets.

Trump's "cookies were in a real crisp today as a new, new whistleblower, Dr. Rick Bright, harshly criticized the White House response to COVID-19," Jimmy Kimmel recapped. "This was a scary hearing today. Dr. Bright warned us that the window was closing to address the pandemic," and "if we don't get our act together, the United States could be headed for 'the darkest winter in modern history.' The good news is it sounds like he's saying we might make it to winter."

Meanwhile, Trump has "been pressuring the CDC to fudge the virus casualty numbers to get them lower," even as "the disease gets scarier by the day," Kimmel said. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania just found that the virus can hang in the air for at least 8 minutes after you speak loudly, "but a lot of people either don't believe this or just don't care. In Wisconsin, the state Supreme Court overturned the governor's state-at-home order, and guess what happened immediately?" Trump called the crowded Wisconsin bars a big win, then headed off to a PPE factory in Pennsylvania, sans mask. "But there's a good reason why he won't wear a mask," Kimmel said: "Wearing a mask is a sign of respect and consideration for others."

"Bright had a damning and truly harrowing assessment of where we are as a nation on everything from vaccines to testing," Late Night's Seth Meyers said. "The frustrating thing about listening to Dr. Bright's testimony is that everything he's talking about is possible, as we've seen from other countries." Watch below. Peter Weber

May 14, 2020

Dr. Anthony Fauci warned about opening the country too soon in Senate testimony Tuesday, and Republicans weren't having it, Stephen Colbert said on Wednesday's Late Show. "Republicans are desperate to reopen the economy because if they don't, they'll have to do the unthinkable: Give money to someone other than rich people. And they're sick of Dr. Fauci reminding them of how many people will get sick." Thanks to "all the mixed messages," millions more people are "venturing out," so "the most widely cited coronavirus model now predicts 147,000 U.S. deaths by August," he said. And President Trump knows the dangers: "A leaked White House coronavirus task force report shows infectious disease spiking more than 1,000 percent in some rural areas."

"Fauci warned Congress about the dangers of opening things up too soon, and today he got a shout-out from the always-incisive Brian Kilmeade on Fox & Friends," Jimmy Kimmel said. "For whatever reason, some of these dopes at Fox News are treating Dr. Fauci like he's an enemy in this." Seriously, "anyone trusting Fox News over doctors right now should only be allowed to see Tucker Carlson when their stool comes out red," he said. "But the president, Fox News viewer No. 1, now says he disagrees with Dr. Fauci, too."

"Now, if you don't live your life in Fox world, it's easy to forget how influential Fox News actually is," The Daily Show's Trevor Noah said. "The people protesting stay-at-home orders, saying experts like Dr. Fauci should be fired, saying the coronavirus was created in a Chinese lab to destroy America (but also China, for some reason) — well, a lot of that stuff comes from Fox." Seriously, he said, "Fox News is so paranoid, it's like the entire network took a bad edible that's been kicking in for, like, 25 years."

"The president is reeling politically from his deadly incompetence during the coronavirus pandemic, and now he and his sycophants on state TV are trying to distract from that by obsessively spinning wild conspiracy theories about Barack Obama," Late Night's Seth Meyers sighed. And on top of everything else, "just yesterday, the president's lawyers were arguing that he is above the law in front of a Supreme Court that includes four conservative justices appointed by presidents who lost the popular vote."

Watch Trump join the Supreme Court's Zoom call at The Late Show. Peter Weber

May 13, 2020

Dr. Anthony Fauci finally got to testify Tuesday without President Trump "looming nearby," and he warned senators "that reopening the economy too soon would cause 'needless suffering and death,'" Stephen Colbert said on Tuesday's Late Show. "Listening to health experts testify today, you might feel like we've got a long battle ahead of us, but according to the president, we've already won," he said. Privately, though, Trump is apparently "freaking out" about the White House's COVID-19 outbreak, he said. "For a germaphobe, Trump sure is anxious to get the rest of us out in the hot zone. It's the ultimate 'This milk smells funny — you drink it. Also, this bleach smells funny; drink that, too.'"

A Pennsylvania PPE factory, "worried that a visit from Trump could jeopardize the safety of the workers," said no, Colbert marveled. "We've all felt this way, but now someone can finally tell Donald Trump: 'Listening to you talk might kill me!'"

Jimmy Kimmel joked that Fauci's "needless suffering and death" warning "is Trump's new campaign slogan. Trump "continues to pat himself on the back," he added, but an unreleased report from Trump's own pandemic task force "shows the numbers going way up in many spots across the country," especially in "the Midwest and the South."

"Even though the president says everything is great, he's also desperate to blame the fact that it isn't on anyone but him," Kimmel said. "His new thing is 'ObamaGate.' He doesn't know what it is, but he's going with it," apparently stung by Obama privately calling his coronavirus response "a 'chaotic disaster.'"

Tooning Out the News also illustrated Trump's ObamaGate confusion.

The Daily Show's Trevor Noah tied Trump's ObamaGate rants to the Justice Department dropping charges against Michael Flynn. "Trump says the investigation itself was the real crime" and Obama was "the ringleader," Noah said. But really, "we have no idea what ObamaGate is actually is supposed to be. And I don't think Trump actually knows, either. In fact, I think the only lesson Trump learned from Watergate is that things he doesn't like should have the word '-gate' after it: ObamaGate, SaladGate, EricGate."

Fauci "keeps having to come up with new ways to say 'Please stay inside or you might die," Noah said, but "I bet this time Trump is way more likely to listen — because now he's watching it on TV." Watch below. Peter Weber

May 12, 2020

COVID-19 has infiltrated the White House, The Late Show noted Monday night.

Coronavirus "hot spots are popping up all over the place: Minnesota, Tennessee, Nebraska, there's even an outbreak of the coronavirus inside the White House," Stephen Colbert said. And President Trump's response to the positive test of Katie Miller, press secretary to Vice President Mike Pence, "might be the dumbest thing he ever said. ... She was tested and didn't have it, then she got it, then the next test showed that she had it. Does Trump think the tests are good only if they tell you news you want to hear?"

"To make himself feel better, this afternoon Trump had a press briefing in the Rose Garden," Colbert said. It went poorly and ended when he "threw a hissy fit after getting challenged by two female reporters."

"The coronavirus is now officially in the White House," Trevor Noah said at The Daily Show. "And I won't lie — I'm not surprised that this cluster started in Stephen Miller's house. That dude has always given off major bitten-by-a-bat vibes." Trump still refuses to wear a mask, "even when meeting a group of elderly World War II veterans," Noah said. "Can you imagine surviving Hitler only to be taken out by Trump? That would be so anticlimactic. It would be like if Batman beat Bane and then dies slipping on a banana peel."

Along with "trying to dead-eye mind trick Americans into thinking coronavirus will simply go away," Trump had "an especially demented weekend on Twitter," Late Night's Seth Meyer recounted. "On Sunday alone he posted 126 tweets and retweets, including over 50 messages before 8:30 a.m. Sounds like it was a great Mother's Day." Trump was actually asked Friday if he had a message for America's mothers, he said, and "our drooling, potato-brained Caligula" gave an answer "so deranged it's actually hard to fully appreciate just by listening." So Meyers read the transcript.

Tweeting "once every 7.5 minutes" is impressive, since it means Trump "ignored a pandemic and his wife on Mother's Day," Jimmy Kimmel said. But "I spent some of my Mother's Day in a Twitter feud with" Trump, too, over an out-of-context video Kimmel posted of Pence on Thursday, he explained. "Bottom line is I was wrong, he was joking, I didn't know, I made a mistake." You can watch Kimmel's apology "of sorts" below. Peter Weber

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