Jon Stewart is clearly starting to miss his role as America’s satirist-in-chief.
For the second time since President Donald Trump took office, the former Daily Show host stopped by his friend Stephen Colbert’s Late Show Monday night. And this time, instead of announcing some new executive orders as Trump, he emerged from underneath Colbert’s desk to rail against Trump’s war on the free press.
After a week in which the Trump White House blocked reporters from CNN, The New York Times and other mainstream outlets from attending a briefing with Press Secretary Sean Spicer, and the president himself repeated his claim that the media is the “enemy of the American people” at CPAC, Stewart couldn’t take it anymore.
“I mean, this whole thing just makes me so crazy!” he exclaimed as the audience applauded his “surprise” appearance. Stewart joked that he tunneled his way into the theater from his new farm in New Jersey. Asked if he misses his old gig, he told Colbert, “Yes, I miss it! I spend the whole day yelling about Trump to the animals.”
As he did to powerful effect during last summer’s Republican National Convention, Colbert turned his desk over to Stewart, who offered up his take on the dangerous road Trump is taking America down. “I can’t believe the guy’s got the balls to get away with that,” Stewart said. “Trump lies more in one press conference than CNN does in a year, and that’s coming from a guy who, as you know, hates CNN.”
Stewart proceeded to dismantle Trump’s lies about the size of his electoral college win, the country’s murder rate, and perhaps most disturbingly, his dismissal of concerns over anti-Semitic attacks on Jewish centers. Instead of condemning those incidents, Trump simply declared himself “the least anti-Semitic person you’ve ever seen in your entire life.”
“I don’t think that’s true!” Stewart declared. “He said that to a guy wearing a yarmulke. Donald, you’re not even the least anti-Semitic person in that clip we showed.” But how does Stewart know Trump’s lying deliberately? “Because he constantly says the phrase ‘believe me.’ Nobody says ‘believe me’ unless they're lying.”
But Stewart had just as strong a statement for the members of the press who are calling Trump’s attacks “un-American,” telling them to “stop your whining.”
Speaking directly to the media, Stewart said, “I heard Donald Trump broke up with you. Stings a little, doesn’t it? You finally thought you’d met your match: a blabbermouth who’s as thin-skinned and narcissistic as you are. Well, now it’s over! Well, good riddance, I say. Kick. Him. To. The. Curb.”
He said it’s time for the media to “get its groove back” after “letting itself go,” “putting on a few pundits” over the years and “obsessing 24 hours a day over this one guy”: Donald Trump. “And the whole time you’re all chasing after Donny, the rest of us are thinking, ‘But can’t you see he’s an asshole?’”
“You try to defend him. ‘Oh, no, no, that’s just primaries Donald. That’s just election Donald. You’ll see. We can change him! He’ll get presidential!’” Stewart said, imitating the media. “Yeah, how’d that work out? It didn’t. You know why? Because 70-year-old men don’t get less cranky or racist as time goes by.”
“Look, media, I’m not saying the breakup is going to be easy,” Stewart continued. “You’re going to see your ex swiping far-right with every Tom, Drudge, and Breitbart. And, from what I heard, they do anal.”
“But here’s my point, media,” he added. “This breakup has given you an amazing opportunity for self-reflection and improvement. Instead of worrying about whether Trump is un-American or if he thinks you’re the enemy or if he’s being mean to you or if he’s going to let you back in the briefings, do something for yourself. Take up a hobby. I recommend journalism.”
“I think this breakup is going to be the best thing that ever happened to you,” Stewart concluded.
Colbert asked Stewart, “You really think the media is going to take this opportunity to self-examine and then get better at their jobs?”
“I really do,” he replied. “Believe me.”