More than 70 people have been arrested and charged for their role in the deadly, pro-Trump attack on the US Capitol last Wednesday, “but there are so many who also deserve to face consequences for their actions”, said Samantha Bee on Full Frontal – namely, the 147 Republicans in Congress who voted to overturn the election results.
“They are all complicit,” she said, pointing directly to the Texas senator Ted Cruz and Missouri senator Josh Hawley, the ringleaders in objecting to certification of the election results.
“Just as despicably, Trump’s biggest enablers are only now breaking from the president to try to save their careers,” Bee continued while listing off Trump’s cabinet members who jumped ship with just two weeks to go, such as the transportation secretary, Elaine Chao, and secretary of education, Betsy DeVos, as well as the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, who has tacitly declined to lobby against the impeachment charges filed by the Democratic House on Wednesday.
The break with Trump isn’t over principles, Bee argued – “no one in the Republican party suddenly grew a conscience. They’re doing the bare fucking minimum at the last minute to save their own skins. They were happy to support Trump when it was helping them cut taxes for the rich and fill the supreme court with these Adults of the Corn.”
But few people “scored more sanctimony points” after the riot than Vice-President Mike Pence, who up until a month ago backed Trump’s baseless claims of election fraud. Pence was reportedly “stunned” and “incensed” by the riot, but Bee was not convinced. “Mike Pence, be real. You just want an excuse to get the fuck out of there. You’re like me at a dry wedding – I don’t care about love, I care about getting fucked up for free.
“The only reason Pence’s cowardly ass even went against the president” by not intervening in the Senate’s election certification “was because he literally legally could not overturn the election,” she added.
“Last week’s events were unprecedented, but the behavior of the ringleader who made them happen isn’t,” Bee concluded. So “whether they distance themselves now or not, Republicans who encouraged that angry mob have blood on their hands, and it can’t be washed away with a last-minute mea culpa.”
“Make no mistake: we are in the dystopia,” said Stephen Colbert on Wednesday, after the House voted to impeach Trump for a second time and, for security, members of the national guard slept on the floor of the Capitol building. “Take heart, national guard, yes your bodies and your bravery and your service are the primary defense against a raging mob of homicidal yahoos,” he said. “And yes, some of the folks you’ve sworn to defend have been actively inciting those seditionists.”
Due to threats of violence on the Capitol, 15,000 troops have been deployed to secure Biden’s inauguration – three times the number of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan combined. “Well, the United States is known for sending in troops to prop up failed states,” Colbert deadpanned. “Hopefully, we’ll greet ourselves as liberators.”
As for the House vote to impeach Trump again, just over a year since the first impeachment, Colbert was relieved but exhausted. “I feel like I just took down my decorations from the last impeachment,” he said.
The charges this time were simple and direct: “inciting violence against the Government of the United States”.
“That is a pure dereliction of duty,” Colbert said of the charge. “That’s like your doctor yanking out your IV or a lifeguard drowning your grandpa, or the host of your book club failing to buy boxed wine.”
On Late Night, Seth Meyers responded to reports that McConnell was “pleased” House Democrats moved to impeach Trump, the better to purge him from the GOP. “Of course McConnell is pleased,” Meyers said. “He’s like a guy who robbed a bank, jumped on a helicopter to Fiji, and pulled up a rope ladder, leaving his accomplice stranded on the roof as the cops closed in.”
With the House vote, Trump became not only the first president to face impeachment twice, but “the only president to be impeached twice and lose the popular vote twice”, said Meyers. “He’ll be emblazoned in history as an embarrassment and a disgrace. No politician has ever been more thoroughly and more frequently repudiated by the American people.
“It’s like entering the Tour de France,” he continued, “coming in dead last, and getting kicked out for steroids, then entering again the next year only to forget your bike, forcing you to steal someone else’s and scream ‘you’ll never catch me!’ before crashing into a cow.”
“It’s always a surprise to see how crazy some of our elected officials are,” said Jimmy Kimmel before clips of Republican congressmen defending the president against impeachment. Representative Ken Buck, for example, stretched whataboutism all the way to “Robert DeNiro said that he wanted to punch the president in the face”; another, wearing a mask that said “censored” as she spoke into a microphone before Congress, said none of Trump’s rallies in the past five years had assaulted police officers or destroyed businesses.
“Well, one of them did, on Wednesday, and that’s why we’re here today,” Kimmel retorted.
“Pushing the idea that the attack on the Capitol last week bore any resemblance to the Black Lives Matter protests over the summer? It’s not just dumb, it’s disgusting,” Kimmel added. “Stop comparing protesters marching to protect their rights with anarchists storming an election to strip us of ours. Stop it, you sound stupid.”