Culture Trips

Trevor Noah: ‘Nobody expected that Trump’s lawyers would be so terrible’ | Late-night TV roundup

Late-night hosts react to the second day of Donald Trump’s impeachment trial for inciting insurrection, in which House managers played disturbing footage from the 6 January attack on the Capitol.

Trevor Noah

With all the footage from the Capitol siege and social media posts by the rioters, House impeachment managers have “basically a slam-dunk case”, said Trevor Noah on Wednesday’s Daily Show. “This would be like having a murder suspect who left his DNA at the scene, dropped a bloody glove, and fled the scene in a Ford Bronco,” he added, referencing the OJ Simpson case. “There would be no way you couldn’t convict that guy!”

On Wednesday, House impeachment managers displayed “harrowing” video of the violent attack on the Capitol and its police. “We all expected the Democrats to present a competent, compelling case,” Noah said of the emotional footage. “But what nobody expected was that Trump’s lawyers would be so terrible.”

Trump’s two defense lawyers, Bruce Castor and David Schoen, rambled through several tangents and never offered a cogent defense for the ex-president. “It was going so badly for the Republicans, I thought Ted Cruz was going to start another insurrection just to change the subject,” Noah joked.

But “luckily for these lawyers, we all know, and they know, that no matter how bad their defense is, they’re still gonna win this trial”, Noah added, which “makes a mockery of the entire idea of accountability”.

Stephen Colbert

The second impeachment trial of Donald Trump was always going to be rough, but “turns out it’s even worse than we thought”, said Stephen Colbert following day two. “And I gotta tell you: I came into this with my ‘it’s pretty bad’ septic tank already brimming over.”

The Late Show host replayed a horrifying clip of the Capitol siege in which officer Eugene Goodman directed the Utah senator Mitt Romney, one of the few Republicans openly critical of Trump, away from the oncoming mob. “Keep in mind, those maniacs would’ve loved to have gotten their hands on Mitt Romney, who voted to impeach the former president the last time that he deserved it,” Colbert said.

Yet “despite the powerful evidence supplied by the House managers and objective reality, many GOP senators seemed to be barely paying attention”, instead reading books or briefing papers on other topics. “Yes, other more interesting topics,” Colbert deadpanned, “like ‘how does history tend to remember cowardly fascists and enabling worthless pieces of garbage?’”

Seth Meyers

Given the amount of evidence amassed by House impeachment managers, “you think [Trump’s] lawyers would be a little more prepared”, said Seth Meyers on Late Night. “Instead, Castor meandered aimlessly like he was auditioning to be on one of those sleep apps.”

Among Castor’s rambling lines: “There isn’t a member in this room who has not used the term ‘I represent the great state of fill-in-the-blank.’ Why? Because they’re all great? Yeah. But you think yours is greater than others because these are your people.”

“I left a voicemail on ecstasy in 1997 that made more sense than this,” Meyers zinged. “What are you talking about? The House managers just laid out a devastating case against the president with harrowing video footage and you sound like you’re vamping at the end of social studies class.”

Castor’s teammate David Schoen, meanwhile, went with what Meyers called the “heinous asshole” route, with hyperbole such as: “This trial will tear this country apart, perhaps like we have only seen once before in our history.”

“I’m sorry, are you threatening a second civil war?” Meyers fumed. “You know that’s basically what Trump got impeached for, right? That’s like if OJ’s lawyers had said, ‘You better acquit him, or I will stab every one of you.’”

Jimmy Kimmel

“I have no idea how you could watch that and vote for anything other than guilty as charged,” said Jimmy Kimmel of the riot footage played by House impeachment managers. “Trump should’ve been removed from office that day.”

Nevertheless, conviction appears to be a remote possibility, as Republican senators are loth to anger Trump’s base. The defense’s argument is “basically telling Republican senators ‘Nice jobs you’ve got there, would be a shame if something were to happen to them!’” Kimmel said.

Trump, meanwhile, was reported to not be happy with his lawyers’ performance, which left him screaming at his TV. “They say the last time he was this mad was when he found out there was a Donald Trump Jr,” Kimmel joked.

Samantha Bee

And on Full Frontal, Samantha Bee skirted the impeachment trial in a segment on the movement to raise the federal minimum wage to $15. “The pandemic has put a renewed focus on a working class that now has to risk getting sick on the job while receiving little to no support,” she explained. The US minimum wage has been stuck at $7.25 since 2009 – “it’s insane that America updates its Spidermen more frequently than the minimum wage,” Bee joked.

Raising the minimum wage would help 10.5 million families who rely on safety net programs such as Medicaid, Chip or Snap, Bee explained. “Republicans love to bash these programs and claim too many people are using them, but fewer people would need assistance if their employers just paid them a living wage. It’s not fucking rocket science.”

Joe Biden’s plan would raise the minimum wage gradually to $15 by 2025. “Think of it as minimum wage foreplay,” said Bee. “It will take awhile to build but when it gets there, it’s fine.

“Regardless of what Republicans say, paying Americans fairly doesn’t soften the economy,” she later concluded. “It strengthens it, it makes it bigger – like foreplay!”

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