In early September, comedian Seth Meyers sat down for an interview with The Daily Beast and discussed the presidential candidacy of Donald Trump. Meyers had memorably called Trump’s previous Oval Office flirtation “a joke” while roasting him at the 2011 White House Correspondents’ Dinner, but he wasn’t laughing now.
“Obviously what he’s doing, he’s showing a real political acumen that I completely underestimated,” he said. “I’ve been wrong about him at every turn.”
And on Wednesday night, about 13 hours after Trump shocked the world to become the president-elect, Meyers delivered a poignant monologue to his Late Night audience. First, he addressed—once again—how wrong he’s been about the rise of Trump.“You know, we’ve been talking about Donald Trump on this show for 18 months, and one of the things I’ve tried to make clear over those 18 months is how I’ve been wrong about him at every turn. When he first came down the escalator at Trump Tower and announced, I boldly said on this show it was a stunt, and he would never really run. I then said he would never win the GOP nomination, and I certainly didn’t think he would be our next president,” said Meyers. “But the good news is, based on this pattern of me being wrong on every one of my Donald Trump predictions, he’s probably going to be a great fucking president! Let’s just hope this trajectory holds.”
The former Saturday Night Live head writer further shared a humorous anecdote about informing his 8-month-old son that “for the first time in our history, our president would be a steak salesman,” which seemed to calm the baby’s nerves.
And then things took a more somber tone, with Meyers—at times on the brink of tears—discussing how he feels for all the parents with daughters who had to break the news to their kids this morning.
“I do really feel for the parents who had to explain this to their kids this morning—especially parents with daughters because a lot of them, like me, probably thought Hillary would be our first woman president. But she won’t be,” said Meyers. “But that does mean—that does mean—that someone’s daughter is out there right now who will one day have that title. And maybe you’re a woman who’s currently a senator, maybe you’re still in college, hopefully you’re not a toddler—but who knows. With the way things went last night, who knows. The fact is, we don’t know who you are, but I imagine this moment today will be a defining one for you. One that will make you work harder, and strive farther, and whoever you are, I hope I live to see your inauguration.”Meyers began to get very choked up, adding, “And I hope my mom does, too. She was really excited yesterday, and umm… I was really sad for her.”
Although he’s been hard on Trump over the past 18 or so months, Meyers expressed sympathy for Trump’s passionate, angry-at-the-system supporters, confessing “it would be wrong for me to think my emotions are somehow more authentic than their emotions,” and “I sincerely hope he addresses your concerns.”
But, he continued: “As a white man, I also know that any emotions I’m feeling are likely a fraction of those being felt by the LGBTQ community, African-Americans, Hispanic Americans, Muslim Americans, and any number of the immigrant communities so vital to our country, so hopefully the Trump administration and Trump supporters will be compassionate to them—because they need your compassion.” “And in general, I am hopeful for President Trump because hope is always the best possible path to take, and one thing that makes me hopeful is we know from interviews he’s given over the years that he has, at any given point, held every position on every issue,” said Meyers. “He’s been pro-choice, pro-life, for the Iraq War, against the Iraq War. Pretty much his only consistent position has been: anti-Rosie O’Donnell. So I’m hopeful that he’s not actually a racist, and that he just used racist rhetoric to court voters—because when you’re courting someone, you’re always willing to pretend you’re something you’re not.”