Trevor Noah needed to talk about “the Twitter” on Thursday night.
“It’s a wonderful invention,” he said. “But we have learned that if you ever tweet something that offends too many people, you could get fired from your job. Or you could become president. High risk, very high reward.”
Of course, he was talking about ESPN anchor Jemele Hill, who tweeted this week, “Donald Trump is a white supremacist who has largely surrounded himself w/ other white supremacists.” Not only did her employer publicly condemn those sentiments, but White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders deemed them a “fireable offense.”
The Daily Show correspondent Roy Wood Jr., who has appeared on Hill’s His & Hers show, offered up a vigorous defense of her words. “Where could she have gotten that idea?” he asked. “I mean, who in their right mind would—oh yeah, everybody!”
“Trump is the only white dude I know who had to sign paperwork to prove he don’t like Nazis,” Wood Jr. said, pointing to the recent joint resolution submitted to the president by Congress.
“This story only blew up because the White House got involved,” he said. “Because what Jemele Hill said honestly just should have been another day on Twitter.” But then Sanders stepped in and “fanned the flames.”
“That’s a fireable offense?!’” Wood Jr. said in a response to the press secretary. “You want to see a fireable offense, look around your administration!” While “everyone has the right to get angry about tweets,” he said, “This is a White House official calling out a private citizen for speaking her mind. That’s a step too far.”
Playing devil’s advocate, Noah suggested that maybe Sanders was “just sharing her personal opinion on the matter.”
“Yeah, and Jemele Hill was sharing her personal opinion,” Wood Jr. said. “The difference was that one was on her Twitter account. The other was on a podium at the White House. Look at her! She’s got a flag and podium. That makes it official.”
The correspondent had even less time for the “double standard” argument made by the likes of Sean Hannity, who asked viewers to “imagine” if someone on the right had called President Obama racist. “We don’t have to imagine,” Wood Jr. said. “Because there was a TV personality who tweeted, ‘Obama is a racist.’” And his name was Donald Trump.