Monday was not only Donald Trump’s “working day one” as president of the United States, it was also Seth Meyers’ first opportunity to take “a closer look” at his nascent presidency. And so far, the Late Night host is not encouraged.
Meyers began by examining the “stark contrast” between the “what may have been the largest organized protest in U.S. history” and the Trump administration “openly lying” to the American people. Beginning with the Women’s March, which even made it to Antarctica, he said, “Imagine being so disliked that people are willing to go outside and protest you in Antarctica. That’s like if you climbed Mount Everest and when you got the top there was a guy standing there booing you.”
Moving on to Trump’s dismal view of the country he now leads in his inaugural address, Meyers said it wasn’t quite Ronald Reagan’s “morning in America.” It was more like “morning in America, but like, early morning, when you wake up hungover in a cold sweat, and you realize you’re in Thailand and there’s a dead body in the bed next to you, and the only sound you hear is cops banging on your door, and all you can think is, ‘What the fuck is happening?!’”
But of course, President Trump’s big concern since being sworn in on Friday has been the size of the crowd that showed up to watch it happen. As Meyers told Trump, “It was a perfectly respectable crowd, full of people who love you and are excited you won. It just wasn’t a record-breaking crowd.”
The only reason that this is a story at all, Meyers continued, is that Trump “insists on lying about it,” most “brazenly” through his press secretary Sean Spicer, who spent his first day on the job misleading the press corps and the American people about something as petty as crowd size. “There’s no way of knowing how many people were there, but there were definitely more people there than ever before!” Meyers shouted, parodying Spicer’s flawed logic.
But perhaps most egregious of all is the term that Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway coined on Sunday to justify her boss’ lies: “alternative facts.”
“Kellyanne Conway is like someone trying to do the Jedi mind trick after only a week of Jedi training,” Meyers said. While these may seem like “small lies,” he warned that they “inoculate us against bigger lies” and “make facts a matter of partisan debate instead of accepted shared reality.”
For now, it’s crowd size, but when it really matters, how will we know who to trust?