Trevor Noah weighed in Wednesday evening on the war of words between corporations and the GOP over Georgia’s new restrictive voting law. The Republican-backed measure, part of a wave of bills restricting voting rights after record turnout propelled Joe Biden to the White House and flipped the Senate, shortens the window for absentee voting, curtails access to ballot access for predominantly minority voters in urban counties, and makes offering food or water to voters waiting in line a misdemeanor.
In response, several corporations, including Atlanta-based Delta Airlines and Coca-Cola, as well as Google, Microsoft and Facebook, have publicly denounced the law, drawing the ire of the Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, who this week warned businesses of “serious consequences” if they continued to voice opposition to the measure.
It was “appropriate” for corporations to donate money to politicians through political action committees, McConnell told reporters, but “taking a position on a highly incendiary issue like this and punishing the community or state because you don’t like a particular law that passed? I just think it’s stupid.”
Noah slow-capped for McConnell’s hypocrisy (the Kentucky senator has received $4.3m in corporate donations over the past five years). “‘Keep your mouth shut and hand over the money’ — that’s literally what bank robbers say,” the Daily Show host explained. “For real, Mitch McConnell does not give a fuck, man. He just lays out the game for you, straight.
“This is especially hilarious coming from Mitch McConnell,” Noah added, “because don’t forget – he helped create the situation today where politicians are so dependent on big business for campaign spending that they basically let companies write all of the laws.
“But you see, Mitch, after you spent decades helping companies intervene in politics, you can’t now be upset that companies want to now intervene in politics,” he concluded. “The monster you created is coming after you! Just like how you enabled Trump, and then he came after you.”
On the Late Show, Stephen Colbert provided an update on the scandal he’s deemed “Gaetz-Gaete” – the federal investigation of the Florida congressman and stalwart Trump ally Matt Gaetz for alleged sex trafficking and an inappropriate relationship with a teenage girl.
Gaetz has denied wrongdoing, but the New York Times revealed on Tuesday that during Trump’s final days in office, he’d personally requested a blanket pardon. Gaetz “wanted a pre-emptive pardon for any illegal activity he’s ever done – like innocent people do”, Colbert joked, “and he had reason to believe that he might get that pardon because of his close relationship with the former president”.
But White House lawyers viewed the request as a nonstarter that would set a bad precedent. “Do you know how shady you have to be for number 45’s lawyers to go, ‘no that’s a bad look – now if you’ll excuse me, I just farted on camera, my head is leaking and I’m late for my press conference outside the crematorium dildo shop,” Colbert joked, referring to the disgraced Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani.
Despite the ongoing investigation, Gaetz is slated to speak at an event hosted by Women for America First, a group of “diehard Maga loyalists” who helped organize the pro-Trump rally on 6 January that devolved into the attack on the Capitol. Gaetz’s speech will be part of an “Americana”-themed dinner featuring “BBQ, Boots & Bluegrass” – “not to be confused with Gaetz’s usual theme of molly, minors and mandatory minimums”, Colbert quipped.
Amid criticism, the group defended the decision to book Gaetz and called him a “fearless leader in DC”.
“Yes, Gaetz fears nothing!” Colbert said. “Except the parents of whoever he’s texting.”
And in Los Angeles, Jimmy Kimmel also reacted to the NYT’s report that Gaetz asked Trump for a blanket pardon. “That’s not suspicious,” the host deadpanned. “You know you haven’t done anything wrong when you check in with the president to ask for a pardon in case you happen to get accused of a sex crime somewhere down the line.”
The White House considered the request a nonstarter, “which is saying a lot considering Donald Trump once wanted to nuke a hurricane”, Kimmel said.
As for the reported reasoning that pardoning Gaetz would set a “bad precedent”, the White House “were only interested in setting terrible precedents”, Kimmel joked. “But ‘bad precedent’ should be the title of Trump’s autobiography.”
According to the New York Times, Trump’s advisers have talked him out of a full-throated defense of Gaetz, “which is sad because Matt Gaetz really was the son Donald Trump never had, even though he had a couple,” Kimmel remarked.