Last week, John Oliver celebrated his long-awaited return to his HBO program Last Week Tonight with an extensive breakdown of how “dangerous” Donald Trump’s litany of scandals are—and far more damning than those of his opponent, Hillary Clinton.
The big story this week concerned Trump’s bizarre preoccupation with former 1996 Miss Universe Alicia Machado. After getting steamrolled in the first presidential debate and making the bold claim that “I think my strongest asset, maybe by far, is my temperament,” Trump went absolutely ballistic over Machado, who was invoked by Clinton during the debate as a prime example of Trump’s gross history of misogyny—with the Republican presidential candidate referring to the beauty queen as “Miss Piggy” in the past.
But first came the initial stage of grief: denial. “This week, we then saw what a ‘winning temperament’ actually means: It’s a temperament that allows you to insist that you won something that you demonstrably lost, because Trump’s spent the last seven days citing his victories in what he’s called ‘final debate polls,’” said Oliver, before showing a montage of clips of the former reality-TV host bragging about winning “online polls” at rallies.
“The clear problem with online polls is that you can vote anonymously as many times as you want,” Oliver continued. “That is how, when a British government agency [NERC] held a ‘Name Our Ship’ poll, the people’s overwhelming choice was Boaty McBoatface. It’s also how, when there was an internet vote on where Pitbull should perform, he ended up—and this is true—at an Alaska Wal-Mart. And yet, Trump kept citing these nonsense polls, as did his media boosters like Sean Hannity.”
As Meet the Press host Chuck Todd told Trump’s communications manager Jason Miller, “Those are fan polls, man!”
Back to Machado. After getting put on tilt during the debate, Trump made an appearance on Fox & Friends the following day where he brought up—on his own—the Machado controversy, and proceeded to double down.
“She was the absolute worst. She was impossible,” Trump told the flabbergasted hosts. “She was the winner, and, you know, she gained a massive amount of weight, and it was a real problem.”
“You can see [the hosts] thinking, ‘What are you doing? Why are you doing this? Don’t you know it’s wrong to degrade former beauty pageant winners? We at Fox recently learned that due to the circumstances of Roger Ailes’s departure from this very company!’” exclaimed Oliver.
That was only the tip of the iceberg, however. In the early hours of Friday morning, Trump unleashed a bizarre Twitter rant that included this head-scratcher:
“That is a candidate for president of the United States urging America to check out a sex tape,” offered Oliver. “Just do me a favor: Look up into the sky right now. Higher. No, higher still. Do you see that? Way up there? Way up above the clouds? That’s rock bottom. And we are currently way down here.”
“Trump treats his statements like they’re Pokémon: They’re imaginary things that he nurtures, and evolves, and eventually uses to fight with strangers,” Oliver added. “And thus, the two threads of this week come together: completely unscientific polling, which we know Donald Trump trusts implicitly, and his deeply held belief that female weight gain is a betrayal.”
Oliver then cut to a 1997 interview with Trump and Machado, wherein Trump chided the Venezuelan stunner for gaining weight in front of her face, and then urged viewers of the program to participate in an online poll asking: “Should a pageant titleholder be required to maintain her physical appearance during her reign?”
Well, 57 percent of online voters said “No.” “Oh, how about that, Donald? It seems you have a choice: either admit unscientific polling is bullshit, or that your views on women’s bodies are horrifying,” said Oliver. “I await whatever decision you make at 3 a.m. tonight on Twitter.”