Stephen Colbert misses having a live audience for The Late Show. “I like the give and take. I like the energy,” he said Tuesday night. “But you know who really, really misses having an audience?” he asked. “Donald Trump.”
“You see, he can't hold rallies right now, because the coronavirus would threaten the lives of his supporters,” the host said. “And politics 101 is do not kill your voters.” Colbert identified a phenomenon that seems to have escaped those who run the cable news networks: “Trump has turned the coronavirus press briefings at the White House every day into little rallies, where he rambles incoherently and attacks the press.”
“And yesterday, he outdid himself with a hissy-fit meltdown that clocked in at a generalissimo-mas-grande of two hours and 24 minutes,” Colbert said. “It was like watching The Irishman with just one unconvincingly de-aged criminal.”
It was at Monday’s “press briefing” that Trump subjected the White House press corps to what amounted to an extended campaign ad that aimed to absolve him of responsibility for the coronavirus crisis.
“OK, first of all, it’s ridiculous that the president of the United States used a press briefing on a global pandemic to subject a worried nation to a propaganda video,” Colbert said. “And second, your propaganda sucks. All-caps black letters on a white background? Helvetica? Are you boasting about your accomplishments or offering to teach us guitar?”
Turning more serious, the host added, “The only purpose of the press briefing is to give valuable information to a confused public in the middle of a national crisis. So, of course Trump used it to brag about himself.”
Colbert also noticed the fact that Trump’s response timeline omitted the entire month of February. After playing a clip of CBS News reporter Paula Reid grilling the president about that fact, he imitated Trump, saying, “You’re a fake. You know you’re a fake. You know February is a fake month. There are a lot of fake months out there. Some of them are real: January, March-bruary, Brapril, Octopussy and Santa-con.”
“Anyway, I’m sorry, you were yelling at a woman?” Colbert added. “I know that’s kind of your thing, but it doesn’t mean she’s wrong. You see, Mr. President, you can lie all you want, but what you’re lying about happened less than two months ago. We were all here, and we have something called cameras and they recorded you saying this.”
Colbert then cut to a montage of Trump repeatedly downplaying the severity of the crisis throughout the month of February before exclaiming, “We remember that! We’re not goldfish. You know how I know? Goldfish can still go to schools.”
“We all remember that Trump, the Republicans, Fox News downplayed the seriousness of this virus and told us all to do nothing,” he said. “They took all their chips and they bet the under and they lost. I’m not surprised they lost. Trump has bankrupted a lot of casinos.”
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