John Oliver is no fan of Donald Trump. He’s called the President of the United States “damaged” for fabricating a terrorist attack in Sweden; branded him a “Klan-backed misogynist internet troll”; and last week, explained why Trump’s Syria strike—that the commander-in-chief has learned he shall receive heaps of praise for firing missiles, no matter the outcome—should make us all “very, very worried.”
On Sunday’s Last Week Tonight, before dedicating his main story to warning the French people against electing Marine Le Pen, a far-right nationalist in the Trump vein, the British quipmaster addressed the “impending doom” that is President Trump.
This past week saw Trump make a number of stunning foreign policy reversals, including on NATO, which he repeatedly labeled “obsolete” on the campaign trail (“It’s no longer obsolete” now), and China, who he no longer feels is a “currency manipulator” after hosting Chinese President Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago.
If that weren’t enough, Trump told The Wall Street Journal that, after explaining the history of China-Korea relations to him for 10 minutes, Xi managed to convince him that curtailing North Korea’s nuclear threat is “not so easy.”
That revelation seems to match the findings of an August 2016 story in The Washington Post where one of Trump’s advisors claimed, “Trump tends to echo the words of whomever last spoke to him, making direct access to him even more valuable, the people said, requesting anonymity to talk about internal campaign discussions.”
“Xi Jinping got him to change his mind in just ten minutes!” exclaimed Oliver. “The president seems to change his mind based on any information that is new to him, which seems to be almost any information. And that is genuinely worrying. We have a leader operating on a learner’s permit, and we were reminded just this week of what our president has at his disposal.”
Yes, the United States, for the first time in its history, dropped a GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast—an 18,700 pound bomb nicknamed the “Mother of All Bombs”—on an ISIS cave complex in the Nangarhar Province of Afghanistan. The bomb, produced in 2002, hadn’t been used by the Bush or Obama administrations because of the potential of civilian casualties. The MOAB bombing killed at least 94 ISIS militants, according to Afghan Army officials.
But when Trump was asked if he authorized the bombing, his response was strange. “Uh… everybody knows exactly what happened, so… and what I do is I authorize my military. We have the greatest military in the world, and they’ve done a job—as usual. So, we have given them total authorization,” he said. “What the fuck was that?” shot Oliver. “That was a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ question to which you vomited 38 words—none of which were ‘yes’ or ‘no,’ although to be fair, none of them were ‘Holocaust center’ either, so I guess we should be partially relieved.” Later, the AP reported that military officials “didn’t need and didn’t request President Donald Trump’s approval,” meaning that the commander-in-chief is anything but. “Trump has placed a significant amount of authority in the hands of his commanders. And you may think that’s good, you may think that’s bad, but I would not expect Trump to curb that power anytime soon, because, as we talked about last week, this is a man who responds to praise, and yet again, he is being praised for this,” explained Oliver. The late-night host then cut to a clip of Trump’s favorite cable news show, Fox & Friends, airing footage of the MOAB bombing set to Toby Keith’s hyper-patriotic anthem “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue.” The mushroom cloud prompted co-host Ainsley Earhardt to gush, “The video is black and white…that is what freedom looks like, that’s the red, white and blue,” while Geraldo Rivera added, “Well, one of my favorite things in the 16 years I’ve been here at Fox News is watching bombs drop on bad guys.” “Oh, that’s a coincidence, because one of my favorite things in four seasons on this show is getting to look directly into the camera and say, ‘Fuck you, Geraldo. I hope your mustache gets caught in a box fan,’” shouted Oliver. That wasn’t all. Rivera tried to rationalize the bombing by comparing President Trump to a sadistic bully who tortured him in school. “It’s not gonna win the war, but it certainly sends a message,” said Rivera. “You know, I had a bully in high school. A guy named Richie. You never knew what Richie was gonna do. He had a temper. Sometimes he’d want to kill ya and sometimes he’d let ya go. I like that they think Donald Trump is like Richie from my high school. I want the bad guys to think that he could do anything to them at any moment, and I think that that has a positive impact.”
Oliver, of course, was not impressed: “Holy shit! You see, this is why bullying never works. If you have a bully in school, there is a good chance he’s turning some kid into the next Geraldo Rivera. And if you have a bully in the White House, he does violent, impulsive things that seem to be inching us closer to, among other things, potential nuclear war with North Korea.”