On Sunday night, John Oliver dedicated all of his HBO show Last Week Tonight to two stories: the Republican National Convention and the events in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
The portion of the chaotic, low-rated RNC that Oliver seemed to take particular issue with was the testimony of Mark and Patricia McCloskey, a couple who were there purely because they pulled guns on unarmed Black Lives Matter protesters for walking by their home in St. Louis, Missouri, on the way to protest outside a different home.
“They want to abolish the suburbs altogether by ending single-family home zoning. This forced rezoning would bring crime, lawlessness, and low-quality apartments into now-thriving suburban neighborhoods,” offered Patricia McCloskey, even though the McCloskeys don’t live in the suburbs.
“Think about how incendiary that message is: Violence and criminals are coming to your community in the form of low-quality apartments, and you must defend yourself. Take it from us, the couple who pointed guns at Black Lives Matter protesters,” said Oliver. “And rhetoric like that, and the worldview it encompasses, has consequences.”
The comedian then transitioned to Kyle Rittenhouse, a 17-year-old vigilante who was arrested after he traveled from Illinois to Wisconsin armed with a big rifle (which is illegal, by the way) and allegedly used it to kill two Black Lives Matter protesters who had taken to the streets following the police’s shooting of Jacob Blake, an unarmed Black man, six times in the back.
“I don’t know if he saw the McCloskeys speak the night before he drove to a city he didn’t live in to defend property he didn’t own,” said Oliver. “What I do know is he was an avid Trump supporter, even sitting front row at a rally back in January, and Trump and his media ecosystem have been delivering essentially the same message as the McCloskeys for years now. Just look at how quickly Tucker Carlson moved to try and explain away Rittenhouse’s actions as a natural response.”
Oliver threw to Fox News’ Carlson who, as soon as he got wind of Rittenhouse’s arrest, defended the accused murderer on his program: “So, are we really surprised that looting and arson accelerated to murder? How shocked are we that 17-year-olds with rifles decided they had to maintain order when no one else would?”
“Well, you don’t seem to be shocked—and that alone should be pretty fucking shocking,” said Oliver. “Because let’s be clear. A 17-year-old vigilante with a rifle cannot maintain order, because a 17-year-old vigilante with a rifle trying to maintain order is himself the definition of disorder—except, of course, if you’re a regular viewer of Tucker Carlson, a show that exists to teach its viewers precisely three things: Property damage is violence, homicide is order, and pillows are for sale.”