On the final Monday of Donald Trump’s presidency, Seth Meyers zoned in on one more typically dumb yet sinister encounter from the White House: Trump’s meeting this weekend with Mike Lindell, the founder and infomercial-famous spokesman of the My Pillow company. “What’s next, the ShamWow guy strolling in with a notepad that says ‘Become an X-Man?’” Meyers joked.
Lindell, a longtime ally of the president, was photographed with notes for Trump on martial law and the Insurrection Act. “If I was going into a meeting to tell the president he should declare martial law, I might not need to write it down,” Meyers marveled. “Was there a risk you were going to forget that part?
“This is one of those moments where I’m reminded that there were voters – not many, but some – who were torn between Trump and Biden,” Meyers continued. “Hmm, guy with a five-point plan to build the infrastructure for mass vaccination during a deadly pandemic, or a guy whose best friend is obviously a psychotic pillow salesman. It’s a coin flip!”
Even sadly funnier, Meyers added, were reports that Trump staffers, wary of Lindell and concerned about his incendiary advice on martial law, underwent a comedy of errors to divert him from the president, rather than displease Trump by simply rebuffing him. “This whole situation is just so perfectly indicative of the entire Trump era,” Meyers said. “Instead of just saying ‘No, get out,’ they all go to absurd lengths to debase themselves to accommodate Trump and his circle of crazy old men with mysterious brown hair.”
On The Late Show, Stephen Colbert looked ahead to Tuesday’s inauguration for Joe Biden, for which 25,000 national guardsmen were deployed to prevent a repeat of the siege on the Capitol by pro-Trump rioters. “So, officially, this is not a peaceful transfer of power,” Colbert said.
The host turned to footage, released by the New Yorker, of the Capitol riot on 6 January, in which “the bloodlust of the rioters is palpable,” as the mob chanted “treason! treason!” while storming up steps inside the Capitol. “That’s nice of them to be clear about what they’re there to do,” Colbert quipped. “That’s like me walking into a Barnes and Noble shouting ‘time to pretend to look at a few things and ask to use the bathroom! Woo!’”
In other transition news, Trump reportedly planned to issue 100 pardons and commutations on his final day in office, the culmination of a “lucrative” market for last-minute pardons. “Finally, Potus is running a business that actually makes money,” joked Colbert. “He’s calling it the ‘Olive Pardon – when you’re here, you’re a crime family.’
“The last few days of any presidency is all about cementing your legacy and thanking those members of your administration who worked hardest to ensure your place in history,” he added. So, naturally, Trump met with Lindell and his notes on martial law and the Insurrection Act. “Hm, he seems just a little fascist-adjacent,” Colbert deadpanned. “You might want to rebrand as the Mein Pillow guy.”
The attack on the Capitol on 6 January was “a lot of things,,” said Jimmy Kimmel on Monday evening – it was “horrifying, it was tragic, it was imbecilic, but it was also ironic – exceptionally ironic.
“From the low-lives who assaulted a Capitol police officer with their Blue Lives Matter flags,” Kimmel listed, “to the realtor who gave herself a plug while breaking into a house, to the congressman [Devin Nunes] who complained about being silenced while on national television [Fox News], to the anti-mask Covid deniers who finally wear their masks to hide their identities, to the congresswoman [QAnon abetter Marjorie Taylor Greene] who argued that no Trump rally had ever led to attacks on police hours after Trump rally-goers attacked the police, to these animals who insisted the Capitol is ‘our house’ and then peed and smeared their bowel movements in it.”
Kimmel flicked through even more stupid, cruel ironies: a woman wearing a “spread love” hat who shouted obscenities at police, supporters of a president who campaigned on a border wall scaling the walls of the Capitol, a Florida man photographed walking off with a Capitol lectern at a “Stop the Steal” rally. The most tragic was the woman trampled to death by fellow rioters after she marched with a flag that read “don’t tread on me”.
“I guess they didn’t listen,” Kimmel said. “Hopefully tomorrow we’ll begin the process of turning these real-life events back into headlines from the Onion, where they belong.”
Trump will not attend Biden’s swearing-in ceremony on Wednesday, nor will he leave a traditional letter of welcome to the White House – “the only letters Trump writes are to Kim Jong-un so he will not write Joe Biden a letter,” Kimmel joked. But Trump will leave Biden with “an angry mob, huge unemployment and an out-of-control pandemic”, he added.
“Joe Biden really has his work cut out for him.”