The attack of the US Capitol by supporters of Donald Trump, which led to the deaths of five people, including a Capitol police officer who died on Thursday night, remained at the forefront of the minds of late-night hosts on Thursday evening. The images of the mob egged on by Trump himself, some bearing Confederate flags and conspiracy theory paraphernalia, are “not all of what America is”, said Seth Meyers, “but it is very much a part of what America is”.
“Can politicians and the media stop using the words banana republic or third-world country to describe what happened yesterday? Please?” he added. “I mean, there have been violent insurrections in this country before and, without consequences, it’s going to happen again.
“It’s why the people responsible for this violence must be held accountable from the top down,” he added, calling for Trump to be removed from the White House and the dozen senators and more than 100 GOP House members who promised to object to the certification of election results to be expelled from Congress.
Meyers also lambasted the idiocy of some of the president’s advisers who whipped up the crowd on Wednesday, especially Rudy Giuliani. Trump’s personal lawyer called for an election “trial by combat” at Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rally and accidentally called the wrong senator in a last-minute plea to baselessly reject the election results.
The Giuliani debacle “is a useful reminder that just because these people are brain-dead morons with sludge in their skulls doesn’t mean they’re not also violent seditionists”, Meyers said. “It can be a coup even if most of the people leading the coup are dumb. I’m pretty sure there were also some real dipshits in the Confederacy too.”
Meyers also had a question for the Republicans in Congress who objected to the election results from their own states: “If the election was fraudulent, how come your election wasn’t fraudulent? Why did you take your seat, if the results from your state can’t be trusted? It’s the same ballot, literally the same piece of paper.
“These guys are like diners complaining to a waiter that the chicken isn’t cooked, and when the waiter asks if they want something else they say, ‘Yeah, some more of this raw-ass chicken!’” he added. “It just shows that their arguments are obvious bullshit.”
“Just when we all thought 2020 was the worst 12 months of our lives, 2021 said, ‘Hold my year,’” Stephen Colbert said on Thursday’s Late Show, one day after the Capitol siege by Trump loyalists. “To our worried friends and allies across the globe, please, rest assured: America knows we have a problem, and are seeking treatment soon.”
The president, suspended from Twitter for 12 hours and banned from Facebook and Instagram until at least after Joe Biden’s inauguration, released a tepid video in response to the attack which “curiously contained none of the bravado of yesterday morning”, Colbert said. “No cries of ‘stop the steal’, no calls for action, no fomenting a mindless mob and declarations that he will never, ever surrender.
“Also, no apology, or acceptance of personal responsibility,” he added. “It definitely has the feel of someone who’s been told by their lawyer that in 13 days or less, they can be charged with insurrection, sedition and inciting violence.”
Colbert refused to show a word of Trump’s video, “because he doesn’t mean a word of it. A man facing a noose will say anything to save his neck.”
And in Los Angeles, Jimmy Kimmel expressed chagrined disbelief at the destruction wreaked at the Capitol. “The kind of behavior that wouldn’t be tolerated at a Gathering of the Juggalos went on at the direction of our con-artist-in-chief,” he said.
Still, Congress certified Biden as the incoming 46th president early on Thursday morning, “despite objections from a number of despicables in the House and Senate who are still hitching their sad little wagons to Donald Trump,” such as Senators Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz, who both sustained objections to the result with unsubstantiated, debunked claims of election fraud.
“These experts keep saying history will not look back kindly on the politicians who continue with this charade,” Kimmel said. “As if these people care about history – those people don’t even care about climate change. At this rate, we’ll be lucky if we even have a history for them to be ashamed of.”
Another consequence of the Capitol attack: “the vice-poodle is off the leash,” Kimmel joked, citing reports that Mike Pence was furious with Trump for the riot and for throwing him under the bus after the vice-president fulfilled his constitutional duty to rubber-stamp Congress’s certification of the election. “They say Mike Pence hasn’t been this angry since the night they picked Footloose as the in-flight movie on Air Force Two.”
Still, “Trump is definitely shaken,” Kimmel added, pointing to the president’s taped statement, in which he continued to baselessly dispute the election but promised an “orderly transition” of power on 20 January. “That’s reassuring,” Kimmel deadpanned. “That’s like hearing Godzilla say, ‘Don’t worry, I’m going to swim home.’”