On Sunday evening, John Oliver dedicated the opening portion of his Emmy-winning program Last Week Tonight to President Trump’s all-too-predictable decision to make the mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, all about himself.
The HBO host threw to a clip of Trump taken inside a hospital in El Paso, which Trump ostensibly visited to greet victims of the shooting—but was captured on video bragging about his crowd size at a previous rally in El Paso.
“I was here three months ago, we made a speech, and we had a stage—what was the name of the arena?” said Trump in the clip. “That was some crowd, and we had twice the number outside. And then you had this crazy Beto. Beto had like 400 people in a parking lot.”
Yeesh. “Look, we all know how much Trump struggles to do the bare minimum of being a president, but it’s still genuinely shocking just how much he struggles to do the bare minimum of being a fucking person,” exclaimed Oliver. “Just consider the thought process that happened there: He visited a hospital filled with victims of a mass shooting and thought to himself, remember that other time when I was the center of attention and it was better? And then he thought, do you think anyone else remembers that? Then he thought, I should remind them, right?! Then he thought, great idea! Then he thought, thank you! Then he thought, Ivanka! Then he thought, no time! And then he said it, and he was happy with how it sounded.”
But Oliver told his audience to keep their eye on the ball: “Trump’s pathological lack of empathy should not distract us from the most important question right now, which is what action—if any—will be taken on guns,” offered Oliver, stating that “pressure is building” for just that.
He then aimed his ire at the National Rifle Association (NRA), which has been in a state of financial turmoil for the past year—or as Oliver put it, is “currently in the midst of an eternal shitshow.”
“It all started last year, when federal investigators started looking into whether a Russian agent [Maria Butina] had used the NRA to infiltrate Republican policies—which is already comfortably bad enough. But then, the New York State AG started looking into their tax-exempt status because the NRA is technically a nonprofit, and it turns out there’s been some very suspicious expenditures,” the comedian explained.
Yes, NRA chief Wayne LaPierre is accused of spending member dues on outlandish personal expenses, including nearly $300,000 on designer clothes, luxury travel, etc. He also reportedly wanted the organization to buy him a $6 million mansion in Texas (with nine bathrooms!) after the Parkland shooting out of safety fears.
“Wow. So, putting aside the head of the NRA claiming he needs a mansion because other people got shot, the housing question is ludicrous,” said Oliver.
Oliver then took it upon himself to dance on the grave of NRATV, the gun-lobbying group’s strange propaganda-TV channel that imploded earlier this year.
“Obviously, the death of NRATV is a tragedy—thoughts and prayers to all those affected—but the bottom line is, for the first time in a while, things are not actually looking great for the NRA, so does this mean that gun control could finally happen? Mitch McConnell has hinted at action on background checks, but he’s also refused to recall the Senate and might be hoping that by the time it’s back in session, the pressure will be off,” said Oliver.
“Meanwhile, the president has said that he’s willing to stand up to the NRA but he’s also 1) a liar; and 2) likely to identify with an organization that has spent itself into colossal debt, has troubling ties to Russia, and is associated with shitty TV programs and very bad taste,” he added.
“I guess what I’m really saying here is, a weakened NRA is nice—sure—but the only way that things are really going to change is if lawmakers continue to feel the pressure to… do something.”