After several weeks off, John Oliver returned to the Last Week Tonight desk on Sunday. And, given the overwhelming chaos of the Trump administration, as well as a series of catastrophic natural disasters both stateside and abroad, there was quite a bit of ground to cover.
The comedian briefly acknowledged the devastation in Florida and the Caribbean wreaked by Hurricane Irma before addressing one of the biggest news stories of the past week: President Trump’s decision to end DACA, or the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals—an Obama-era immigration policy allowing those who entered the country illegally as minors a two-year grace period to apply for work permits and avoid deportation. The program covers some 800,000 people, many of whom arrived in the U.S. as children.
On the latest edition of Last Week, Oliver confronted how President Trump has absolutely no plan in place to handle these DREAMers (named after the DREAM Act), and that his “plan” basically boils down to: immigrants bad, Obama bad.
“They have to go. We will work with them, they have to go,” then-candidate Trump told NBC News’ Chuck Todd of DREAMers in 2015. “We will do it, and we will expedite it so people can come back in…Chuck, it will work out so well, you’ll be so happy. In four years you’re going to interview me and you’re going to say, ‘What a great job you’ve done, President Trump.’”
Cue Oliver: “But that is not a plan! Saying they have to go, but then they can maybe come back in, and ending sounding like he’s trying to hypnotize Chuck Todd: ‘It will work out so well, you’ll be so happy, in four years you’re going to say ‘What a great job you’ve done, President Trump,’ now when I snap my fingers you’re going to wake up and wet your pants.’”
Indeed, regarding President Trump’s recent decision to end DACA, The New York Times reported that, “As late as one hour before the decision was to be announced, administration officials privately expressed concern that Mr. Trump might not fully grasp the details of the steps he was about to take…”
If that weren’t enough, Trump seemed to walk back the decision on Twitter hours later:
Asked on Air Force One a day after his tweet about the “mixed signals” concerning DACA, Trump said, “Chuck [Schumer] and Nancy [Pelosi] would like to see something happen, and so do I. And I said, if we can get something to happen, we’re going to sign it, and we’re going to make it—we’re going to make a lot of happy people.”
And it’s here where Oliver recognized Trump’s tell for when he has absolutely no plan in place whatsoever.
“OK listen, because this is important: Any time Trump says he’s going to make people happy, or that you’re going to be happy in the future, that means he has got nothing and he’s trying to end the conversation. Remember, that’s how he shut down Chuck Todd on the plane. And he doesn’t just do it with immigration, he does it with everything,” offered Oliver.
The host then threw to a clip of Trump talking to business leaders about changing trade policy, with the president proclaiming, “Wait till you see what’s up for you. You are going to be so happy.”
“That is the tone of somebody who forgot to buy an anniversary gift and is stalling for time. ‘Wait until you’ve seen what is going to be up for you. I’m going to be back in 45 minutes, you’re going to be so happy,’” cracked Oliver.
But wait, there’s more. Oliver then aired a montage of President Trump’s promises on border safety, the Middle East, steel tariffs, replacing Obamacare, and infrastructure:
“We are going to make it so that everybody is happy.”
“I think you’re going to be very happy with the end result.”
“The steel folks are going to be very happy.”
“Millions of people will be happy, right now you have millions and millions and millions of people that are unhappy.”
“You’re going to be so happy with Trump. I think you already are.”
“OK. But in each of those cases, it’s the way you get to that feeling that is important. Laying out a government policy that’s just ‘you’ll be so happy’ is like naming a restaurant ‘You’re Going to Be So Full.’ OK, that’s the goal, but how? What am I filling myself with? Is it Asian fusion or wet cement?” asked a confused Oliver.
He later added, “This guy is clearly out of his fucking mind.”