REBUTTAL

Stephen Colbert Refuses to Apologize to Trump: ‘I Believe He Can Take Care of Himself’

The ‘Late Show’ host was mostly unapologetic about his Trump-Putin joke that’s come under fire, sparking a #FireColbert hashtag campaign.

Donald Trump bragged about sexually assaulting women. Stephen Colbert made a tasteless joke on a late-night comedy show. Now, the supporters of the former, whose predatory boasting—including moving in on a married woman “like a bitch”—fell on deaf ears, want the latter to be fired over a silly crack.

This, sadly, is no joke.

On Tuesday night, Colbert dedicated a portion of his Late Show monologue to President Trump’s demeaning comments to the face of Face the Nation host John Dickerson. The comedian came to the defense of his friend and network-mate, choosing to retaliate by firing off several insults at Trump. “You talk like a sign-language gorilla that got hit in the head,” he said. “In fact, the only thing your mouth is good for is being Vladimir Putin’s cock holster.”

Many Trump supporters—and some on the left as well—took issue with Colbert’s joke, labeling it homophobic (though they must not tune in to the show often, because the joke echoed ones the comic’s been telling for months about Putin-Trump). The #FireColbert became one of the top trending topics on Twitter, driven primarily by Trump’s online troll army. Yes, the Republican platform may not support gay marriage, and President Trump may be on the brink of signing a “religious freedom” executive order legalizing LGBTQ discrimination nationwide, but God forbid a comic makes an off-color joke.

Well, Colbert kicked off his Wednesday night Late Show monologue by addressing the controversy—as only he could.

“Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to The Late Show. I’m your host, Stephen Colbert. Still? Am I still the host? I’m still the host!” he exclaimed, raising his hands in the air.

“Now, folks, if you saw my monologue on Monday, you know that I was a little upset with Donald Trump for insulting a friend of mine, so, at the end of my monologue, I had a few choice insults for the president in return,” Colbert continued. “I don’t regret that. I believe he can take care of himself. I have jokes, he has the launch codes, so… it’s a fair fight.”

But then, a tiny mea culpa: “So, while I would do it again, I would change a few words that were cruder than they needed to be. Now I’m not going to repeat the phrase, but I just want to say, for the record, life is short, and anybody who expresses their love for another person in their own way, is to me, an American hero,” offered Colbert.

“And I think we can all agree on that,” he added. “ I hope even the president and I can agree on that—nothing else but that.”