After nearly a month out of the spotlight, Donald Trump is expected to speak at this weekend’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), a sign the Republican party is standing by him even after his incitement of the Capitol riot. “Why on earth would you want to stick with a guy who’s basically single-handedly responsible for your political annihilation?” wondered Seth Meyers on Thursday night.
Even though the GOP lost both the White House and the Senate in 2020, “Republicans stuck by Trump no matter how bad he was for the party because they agreed with him,” the Late Night host explained. “They were engaged in the same project and wanted the same things. With a few exceptions, they were all Trump.”
Meyers zeroed in on the South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham, who “literally wore the same clothes when they went golfing, like a chihuahua whose owner makes him wear matching outfits”.
“It took an armed insurrection stoked by the president and fueled by insane lies about election fraud to finally put some distance between a few Republicans and Trump,” Meyers added. In the immediate aftermath of 6 January, even Graham “briefly suggested” that he might break with the president – “All I can say is count me out, enough is enough,” he said on the Senate floor.
“I believe he was reciting a monologue from the Tennessee Williams play A Streetcar Named De-liar,” Meyers joked, because “it won’t surprise you to learn that Graham almost immediately did a 180. He probably thought that by calling out Trump’s bad behavior one time he’d get to co-host a podcast with Obama and Springsteen.”
On the Late Show, Stephen Colbert checked in on efforts to apprehend and prosecute those involved in the 6 January Capitol attack, such as one man who texted an ex photos and videos of the riot along with the message, “If you can’t see the election was stolen, you’re a moron.”
“Yeah, ‘you’re a moron,’ said the man insulting his ex after texting her video evidence of his federal crimes,” Colbert deadpanned. The ex “did not take too kindly to being called a moron”, and promptly turned him into the FBI. He now faces up to 20 years in prison.
“You go, girl!” Colbert joked. “That’s how you know you won the breakup – ‘Did you hear about Chelsea? She is doing amazing, she got a killer haircut, she’s dating a great new guy and she sent Richard to federal prison. Slay, queen!’”
Another rioter, branded the “zip tie guy” for the restraints he was seen carrying in the House chamber, said in legal action filed this month that his actions “were a direct response to months of comments by President Trump”.
“Yes, because there is no more time-honored defense for a fascist than ‘I was just following orders,’” mocked Colbert.
And on the Daily Show, Trevor Noah investigated the state of America’s power grids, under scrutiny after widespread blackouts left millions of Texans without power or water during a polar vortex. The four power grids in North America – western, eastern, Quebec and Texas – constitute “the most massive machine that man has ever built”, Noah explained.
“And it’s amazing how it connects the entire continent – I mean, just think, while you’re blending a smoothie in your kitchen, Donald Trump is using the same electricity to shred his tax returns,” he joked.
It’s a massive system that “unfortunately, like a tweet from 2010, hasn’t aged well”, he continued. The US grid loses power almost three times more often than it did in 1984, and far more than other industrialized nations; most of its power infrastructure hasn’t been updated in decades.
“This is pretty worrisome – America’s living in 2021 with an electric grid that’s barely been updated in the last 50 years,” Noah said. “You have to update technology more often than that, people! I mean imagine trying to get through your life with the first iPhone. You couldn’t even use the maps app because New York wasn’t a state back then!”
And the problems are getting worse, as the grids are liable to shutdowns from climate change-fueled extreme weather and cyber-attacks. “This is a scary future that the world is facing, but the good news is the United States now has Space Force,” Noah joked. “I mean, they won’t be able to protect the power grid, but if it does go down, someone in space can look down on Earth and be like, ‘Yeah, it looks like the lights are out down there.’”