The increasingly epic segment—written almost single-handedly by Late Night’s Sal Gentile—has steadily become late-night TV’s most comprehensive and consistent comedic take on President Donald Trump and those who enable him. And Tuesday night’s edition on the eve of Joe Biden’s inauguration was no exception.
Meyers began with the “meaningless, lie-filled farewell message” Trump posted online earlier in the day. “Fuck off, you don’t get to do that,” he said. “You don’t want to do any of the hard parts of leaving like gracefully admitting you lost and attending your successor’s inauguration, but you want us to watch your lie-filled 20-minute farewell speech, which I am certain you are reading for the first time?”
From there, the host went all the way back to the very first “incredibly stupid lie” of Trump’s presidency about the size of his inauguration crowd.
“It’s not just that Trump inhabits an unhinged fantasy world, which he does,” he said, “or that he and his aides lie as easily as they breathe, which they do, it’s that the entire federal bureaucracy was dragged into defending a narcissistic president’s delusion. And anyone who refused to support the lie was punished.”
That lie, he said, presaged the much bigger lies that followed, from Trump’s deadly COVID-19 denial to his “poisonous” lies about the 2020 election that led to insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
“But we have to remember that even as disgraced and unpopular as Trump is today, there are still powerful forces in the Republican Party and the right-wing media ecosystem who will try to memory-hole what happened these last four years,” Meyers said. “And they’ll go to absurd, humiliating lengths to do it.” He specifically highlighted Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Fox & Friends host Ainsley Earhardt who tried to tout Trump’s work ethic by saying that he “watches every show.”
On the other hand, Meyers said, “You have to work pretty hard to be this unpopular.”
“If Trump had spent four years golfing, ranting about low-flush toilets and letting the experts do their job, there’d be a good chance he’d be setting off for a retirement of paid speeches and toilet-endorsement deals,” he continued. “Instead, Trump will go down in history as a disgraced, sadistic con artist who left the nation in ruins. He’s less popular than Bush, he’s broken more laws than Nixon, he’s got a worse jobs record than Hoover, and he leans like a house blown over in a storm that Jimmy Carter would have to fix.”
“And as he leaves, he’ll be remembered not for standing by the people he pretended he would help,” he said. “Our economy’s in tatters, hospitals are overrun and the vaccine rollout is a disaster. He’ll be remembered for standing by people like Charles Kushner, Paul Manafort, Steve Bannon, murderous Blackwater mercenaries, and the MyPillow guy.”
Finally, Meyers warned that while the Trump presidency is just about finally over, “the corruption, the authoritarianism and the moral rot Trump exposed within the GOP and our system will remain and we can’t just let it go. We’ve got to fix it. And we have to hold accountable the people responsible for it, from the top all the way down. Otherwise, this four-year-long nightmare we’ve all lived through could very well happen again.”
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