Nearly a week after an armed mob stormed the Capitol to stop lawmakers’ certification of election results, Donald Trump made his first in-person comments on the matter and demonstrated that he’s “not taking alt-right terrorism seriously at all”, said Stephen Colbert on the Late Show.
Instead of acknowledging his role in inciting the attack on the Capitol, Trump blamed the attack on “antifa people”. “What the hell are you talking about?!” Colbert fumed. “You invited those rioters to your rally in Washington. They were wearing your shirts, your hats, waving your flag, and they cheered when you told them to go and march on the Capitol!”
Colbert also blasted the growing number of congressional Republicans who have issued empty pleas for unity this week as a deflection for instituting any consequences for the president’s baseless claims or the Republicans who enabled him.
“I’m all for unity,” Colbert said, as long as its reciprocal. He then addressed Republicans directly: “What’s your outreach to the other side? You’ve got to ante up. You don’t get to stay in the game if you don’t toss in a chip of good faith. The other side is going to stop this from happening again by getting rid of the guy who caused it. What are you willing to do to help? Because so far, you have done nothing.
“They were simply certifying a free and fair election,” he continued, “an election that you knew was free and fair but you lied about it anyway, because you wanted the campaign cash and those eyeballs, and you were afraid to make your boss and his Maga monster mad.
“Your lies legitimized the fantasies of a violent, anti-democratic mob that nearly got you and your colleagues killed, and did get a policeman murdered,” he concluded. “Now you want to use your hollow calls for unity to sweep it all under the rug? Well good luck with that, brother, because the rioters also pooped on your rugs.”
On Late Night, Seth Meyers also decried Republicans such as the representatives Jim Jordan and Matt Gaetz, the Florida senator Rick Scott, the Oklahoma senator James Lankford, and numerous Fox News hosts who have called for “unity” after supporting Trump’s meritless election challenges that undergirded the assault on the Capitol last week.
“Republicans just want unity, come on, guys! They want us all to gather round in a drum circle with a Hacky Sack, pass the joint around, and forget they tried to incite a violent insurrection against the United States,” Meyers mocked, before homing in on Scott, who told Fox News that division through impeachment or consequences for Trump “is not what Americans want”.
“What about the 81 million Americans who voted for [Biden]?” Meyers wondered. “Do you think what they wanted was for their votes to be thrown out by a handful of Republican congressmen, something you tried to do even after the mob stormed the Capitol?”
“I’m so sick of these assholes calling for unity after doing arguably the most divisive thing you could do in a democracy, and that was overturn an election,” he added. “Why don’t you do something unifying, like resign? Or apologize, or start every sentence about tone with ‘no one was more divisive with President Trump, and I see that now and feel terrible for supporting him.’ Was that so hard?”
“You know what else guarantees America won’t be united? Inciting a riot to overturn an election,” he concluded. “How about you guys look inward and take some responsibility and express maybe a scintilla of regret for your role in this.”
With “eight days left of our human missile crisis”, Jimmy Kimmel reacted to reports that Trump was unreachable to calls for help from lawmakers during the Capitol siege because he was glued to footage of the riot on TV, “the same way our three-year-old reacts when his grandparents try to Facetime during Paw Patrol”.
“That’s why he calls himself the law and order president – he spends all day watching episodes of it,” Kimmel joked.
The president did break away from the TV on Tuesday for a trip to Alamo, Texas, to sign a piece of the border wall – his signature, if mostly unachieved, campaign promise from 2016 – and “remind people that he’s not just a megalomaniac, he’s also a racist,” said Kimmel. “Should Trump even be allowed near the border? Isn’t he a flight risk at this point?”
Still, Kimmel said drily over photos of rioters scaling the Capitol’s walls, “it was very wise of Trump to take a victory lap at the border the same week his supporters showed the world that walls serve almost no purpose whatsoever when it comes to keeping people who want in, out”.
And on the Tonight Show, Jimmy Fallon also addressed Trump’s photo-op border wall visit in Alamo, Texas. “You know your presidency is off the rails when you have to distract from your attempted coup with your giant symbol of racism,” he said.
At the event, Trump gave his usual rambling, incoherent speech and signed a section of the wall with a Sharpie. “Right now, writing on his border wall is the only place Trump’s allowed to post,” Fallon joked, referencing the social media bans which have cut the president off from his beloved online megaphones.
Meanwhile, the House passed a resolution on Tuesday calling on Mike Pence to invoke the 25th amendment, along with Trump’s remaining cabinet, and strip him of his powers. “It’s a tough choice for Pence to invoke the 25th and have Maga nation hate you, or refuse and still have Maga nation hate you,” Fallon said of the measure, which is all but certain to fall on deaf ears. “You can tell Pence was nervous because he spent all day slamming milks like it was Friday at 5pm.”