Exactly two months ago, after President Donald Trump responded to his election loss by declaring victory, Stephen Colbert choked back tears during his monologue as he told viewers, “We all knew he would do this. What I did not know is that it would hurt so much.”
He hadn’t seen anything yet. But this time, Colbert wasn’t sad, he was furious.
The Late Show host once again threw out the jokes Wednesday night, going live on CBS to share his horrified response to the act of violent insurrection earlier in the day fueled by the president’s election lies.
“I really want to do the show we’re about to do,” Colbert began. “And I also really don’t want to do the show. Because Lord have mercy, there are some dark topics that we talk about on the show occasionally, but I’ve rarely been as upset as I am tonight.”
Speaking directly to the Republican members of Congress who support Trump, the host asked, “Have you had enough? After five years of coddling this president’s fascist rhetoric, guess whose followers want to burn down the Reichstag?”
“Who could have seen this coming?” Colbert asked. “Everyone! Even dummies like me. This is the most shocking, most tragic, least surprising thing I’ve ever seen. For years now, people have been telling you cowards that if you let the president lie about our democracy over and over and then join him in that lie and say he’s right when you know for a fact that he is not, there will be a terrible price to pay. But you just never thought you’d have to pay it too.”
From there, he singled out Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO), who was caught on camera “raising your stupid fist to the mob outside the Capitol.” In the first line of the night that could be considered a joke, Colbert said, “It’s like Black Power but the opposite. There really should be a name for that. And obviously he has to keep his fist closed, because if he opened it you’d see all the blood on his hands.”
Then the host took on Fox News. “You think maybe years of peddling his conspiracy theories had anything to do with this?” Colbert asked, mocking the network for claiming its “news” and “opinion” sides are different. Like the “lubricated catheters” they sell during the ad breaks, he said, “You know where you can stick your excuses and you can skip the lubrication.”
Colbert’s even longer than usual monologue continued for another 10 minutes, as he tore into President Trump for claiming to support “law and order” while encouraging his minions to violently overtake the U.S. Capitol building. “For the record, if I said that, I’d be arrested for inciting a riot,” he said. “But of course, you can’t arrest the president… for 15 more days.”
“Now I’ve said before, violence is the last refuge of the incompetent,” Colbert said later. “And if the last four years have taught us anything, it’s that there are a lot of incompetent people in our leadership.”
Looking ahead to 2022, “when all of those Republicans, who, make no mistake, are responsible for what happened today and are running for reelection,” he said, “let’s remember them for who they showed themselves to be today: cynical cowards who believe the voters should not get to choose who governs this country. Let’s hope the voters prove them all wrong.”
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