Late-night TV hosts slam pro-Trump mob: ‘The president wanted this’
Late-night TV comedians struck a severe tone Wednesday while addressing what Stephen Colbert called “Charlottesville come home to roost on Capitol Hill.”
Colbert and fellow talk-show hosts Jimmy Kimmel, James Corden, Seth Meyers and Jimmy Fallon all altered their material last minute to cover the violent mob of pro-Trump extremists who attacked the Capitol, fueled by President Trump’s unfounded claims of election fraud.
“Who could have seen this coming?” Colbert said on “The Late Show.” “Everyone? ... This is the most shocking, most tragic, least surprising thing I’ve ever seen. For years now, people have been telling you cowards that if you let the president lie about our democracy over and over and then join him in that lie ... there will be a terrible price to pay.”
“Today was not patriotism,” Fallon said on “The Tonight Show.” “Today was terrorism. ... Today was a disgrace. Today was disappointing. But sadly, today was not a surprise.”
On “The Late Late Show” and “Late Night,” respectively, Corden and Meyers responded to President Trump’s widely criticized Wednesday address, in which he empathized with the rioters, called them “very special” and told them he loved them.
“Their hero, the president, released a message this afternoon to tell those supporters that ‘you’re special,’ and ‘we love you,’” Corden said. “I wouldn’t want to even imagine his treatment or response to those people if they had been wearing Black Lives Matter hats instead of red MAGA ones.”
“He knows how they feel, because he spent four years telling them, in great and odious detail, how they should feel,” Meyers said. “The president wanted this. ... He incited it and encouraged it. ... The president and his band of seditious henchmen in the Republican Party and in the right-wing media ecosystem have fed their rabid base a steady diet of unhinged fantasies and conspiracy theories as a substitute for leadership and governance.”
Some of the hosts also took aim at Republican politicians who have stood by Trump and his supporters as the president has continued to spew misinformation about the election that President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris won in November.
“Question for the Republican senators who helped foment this insurrection: Why did you run away?” Colbert said. “These are your peeps. They love you! Why don’t you hang out with your buddies Marsha Blackburn, Kelly Loeffler, Ron Johnson. ... You can run all you want for the rest of your lives, but you can never escape the responsibility of what you brought upon American democracy today.”
“Some of Trumps enablers went, ‘Uh-oh, we better say something,’” Kimmel said on “Jimmy Kimmel Live.” “Ted Cruz tweeted, ‘Those storming the Capitol need to stop now.’ Right, it’s all fun and games till they burst into your office and come for your porno collection, right, Ted?”
Before signing off, Meyers echoed calls for Trump’s prompt dismissal. While the Capitol building was still under siege Wednesday, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) announced she was drawing up articles of impeachment for that very purpose.
“There must be consequences for stoking violence and sedition,” Meyers said. “Otherwise, we’re gonna see it again. And as for Trump, the only way our democracy will survive this harrowing moment is if he is immediately removed from office by either the Cabinet or the Congress and prosecuted. Anything less is tacit permission to continue to use his office and his influence.”
Trevor Noah’s “The Daily Show” also weighed in on the insurrection Wednesday live on Twitter, mocking Trump’s speech — as well as Fox News, which has earned a reputation for sympathizing with and amplifying the president’s bigotry over the past four years.
Here’s a sampling of tweets and memes from the hit Comedy Central program:
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