Culture Trips

Trevor Noah: Trump’s consistency ‘exposed how BS so many other people are’ | Late-night TV roundup

Trevor Noah

Trevor Noah returned to the Daily Show after a month-long vacation on the eve of Joe Biden’s inauguration, as the country prepared to say farewell to Donald Trump’s presidency. Trump spent his last days in power “like many tinpot dictators”, Noah said, “convincing his most rabid fans to keep fighting for a lost cause while he hides in a bunker somewhere”.

Hate Trump or no, “you have to admit a few things about this guy”, Noah added. Namely, that he’s “completely dropped the bar for presidential behavior. I mean, in 10 years, a president could just pee in the middle of a press conference, and everyone will just be like, ‘huh, I guess he just had to go.’’”

But Trump has been consistent, Noah added. “The victimhood and racial resentment that came down that escalator in 2015 – those are the same that ended up at the Capitol on January 6th,” he said, a consistency which has “exposed how bullshit so many other people are”.

For example, “the way Fox News defended police during the George Floyd protests, you would’ve thought that opposing police brutality was the same thing as killing police,” Noah said. But when Trump supporters, the target demographic of Fox News, stormed the Capitol in an attack that left two police officers dead, Fox News commentators blamed the violence not on the rioters but, in a contortion of logic, “the anti-American left”.

“You guys clearly don’t care about cops,” Noah said. “You only care about the idea of using cops to keep black people in their place. So, please, miss me with that bullshit.”

Stephen Colbert

On the Late Show, Stephen Colbert marked the transition of power by revisiting his first Trump-era monologue – “We’ve got four very interesting years in front of us,” he said on 9 November 2016.

“I might have undersold that just a smidge,” Colbert reflected on the eve of Biden’s inauguration. “It has been interesting in the same way that riding in a car going over a cliff is thought-provoking.”

Colbert recapped the highlights of Trump’s “lowlights”, everything from the Muslim travel ban early in his presidency to inciting a riot at the Capitol and “ruining the YMCA”, one of his favorite campaign songs.

“In the end, the takeaway from this presidency is: take him away,” Colbert concluded.

The host saved his praise for the American people – “for all of his dangerous assaults on American democracy, in the end, democracy kicked his ass all the way back to Florida,” said Colbert. “And in this case I for one will never, ever be sick of winning. So you should be proud of yourselves – count among your accomplishments this year stopping homegrown American fascism, and hitting 10,000 steps walking between your fridge and your couch.”

Seth Meyers

On Late Night, Seth Meyers revisited the long trail of harm throughout the Trump presidency, up to and including his list of 100 pardons during his final day in office. “Of course this is how the Trump era ends,” Meyers said, “with the faux populist president mulling pardons for wealthy, well-connected allies,” such as his former adviser Steve Bannon.

Meyers also had some final parting words for Fox News and congressional Republicans who supported the president throughout his term in office: “The toxic rightwing media apparatus and most of the institutional Republican party spent the last four years colluding with a monstrous and irredeemable man, who has been thoroughly repudiated by the American electorate over and over again,” he said.

Trump lost the popular vote in 2016, the House in 2018, got impeached in 2019, lost by 7m votes in 2020, watched the Senate slip from Republican control thanks to the Georgia runoff elections, and got impeached again. “You know what, I take it back – maybe he is a worker,” Meyers concluded, “because you have to work pretty hard to be this unpopular.”

Jimmy Kimmel

Wednesday marks “the end of an error”, said Jimmy Kimmel on inauguration eve. “It feels like the night before my wedding and my divorce all rolled into one,” in which the president offered merely a “poorly constructed, boastful, heavily edited speech” made available on YouTube.

“I love this fairytale that he works hard,” Kimmel added, “even though he’s done literally nothing other than try to overturn the election over the last two months.

“Looking back, I wonder if this was all worth it to him,” he mused. “I mean, six years ago, we were all perfectly fine to let him keep bumbling around New York pretending to be a billionaire. He could’ve been hosting golf tournaments, making TGI Friday commercials, playing this role he created of the wealthy tycoon. He could’ve bought a couple of new helicopters, couple of new wives, and we would’ve all just rolled our eyes and been like, ‘oh, that’s just Donald Trump.’

“That’s where Donald Trump belonged,” he concluded. “But now most of the country despises him.”

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