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After a nightmarish weekend in which speculation about nuclear war with North Korea gave way to rallies by white supremacists and violence in Charlottesville, Va., late-night hosts were ready for a fight Monday night.
On "Late Night," Seth Meyers was solemn as he decried President Trump's lackluster Saturday condemnation of the racist extremists, speaking at length about how Trump's own words laid the groundwork for conflict.
"Some ignored it or played it down when Donald Trump claimed our first black president wasn’t born in this country. It was racist and insane, but he was written off as a clown, a bitter little man who didn’t know an American could have a name like Barack Obama," Meyers intoned.
"Then he called Mexicans rapists during the speech announcing his candidacy. He called Elizabeth Warren 'Pocahontas.' Then he brought Steve Bannon into the White House with him, worked to take voting rights away from black people and hammered away at the idea that Chicago was a wasteland because of the violent black people living there.
"And now white supremacists and American Nazis are visible and energetic and demonstrative in a way we’ve not seen in our lifetime," Meyer continued.
On Monday, the president delivered a more strongly worded statement specifically targeting the KKK and white supremacists.
Jimmy Fallon opened "The Tonight Show" with similar solemnity.
"Even though 'The Tonight Show' isn’t a political show, it’s my job to stand up against intolerance and extremism as a human being," Fallon said in his opening monologue.
Fallon appeared visibly emotional throughout the two-minute segment, talking about setting an example for his daughters while also chiding President Trump, whom he infamously hosted on the show during the 2016 presidential campaign.
"The fact that it took the president two days to come out and condemn racists and white supremacists is shameful," Fallon said.
Other late-night hosts, while still horrified by the events that unfolded in Virginia, fixated on how long it took Trump to come out against the extremists.
On CBS, Stephen Colbert savaged the president and mocked his slow response time, given how quickly he has historically spoken his mind over slights or displeasure.
Colbert highlighted Trump's off-the-cuff insult of CNN at Monday's news conference, during which he immediately dismissed a reporter as "fake news" after refusing to answer questions.
"How quickly you condemned CNN, right off the top of your head," Colbert said, "Next time, like that — but with Nazis."
On "The Late Late Show," James Corden made his point about Trump's sluggish response time by pointing out all the things the president had renounced faster than racism. The list included:
- Meryl Streep
- James Comey
- Harry Styles
- a disabled reporter
- bald eagles
- Snoop Dogg
- fidget spinners
- Kristen Stewart
- Mark Cuban
- Samuel L. Jackson
- Major League Baseball
- "The View"
"Five of those are made up," Corden told the audience, "and I guarantee you can't figure out which five."
Jimmy Kimmel also found himself befuddled by Trump's handling of the weekend's unrest, particularly the president's ad-libbed remark that "many sides" were to blame.
"There were two sides. Not many sides. And one of those sides had Nazis on it," Kimmel joked. "All he had to do was condemn the Nazis."