At 7:49 p.m. ET, on the second day of 2018, President Donald Trump unleashed one of his most worrying tweets yet.
“North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the ‘Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.’ Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!”
Trump’s anxiety-inducing tweet was in response to North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un’s New Year’s Day message, wherein he claimed during a state TV broadcast: “The entire mainland of the U.S. is within the range of our nuclear weapons and the nuclear button is always on the desk of my office. They should accurately be aware that this is not a threat but a reality.” Kim further declared that the U.S. wouldn’t “dare” attack North Korea because “they know that now we possess such great nuclear power.”
Enter late-night comedian Stephen Colbert.
Unfortunately, Colbert taped Tuesday night’s edition of The Late Show around 5 p.m., a few hours before Trump’s most unhinged of tweets, so he was only able to address President Trump’s other wacky tweets—you know, the ones where he accused the Justice Department of being a part of the “Deep State” (echoing his favorite conspiracy theorist, Alex Jones) and took credit for there being no U.S. deaths in commercial aviation in 2017, even though he had nothing to do with that statistic, and there hadn’t been any in prior years either.
So Colbert responded to Trump’s Kim tweet on Twitter, echoing others’ jokes about the bigger “button” in Trump’s tweet being a clear reference to his penis: “Please don’t make me picture your ‘button,’” wrote Colbert, adding, “…also don’t start a nuclear war, you ‘Buttonhead.’”
This war of words between our remarkably thin-skinned commander-in-chief and Colbert is nothing new, of course. In an interview with Time magazine last May, Trump complained about Colbert’s constant attacks on him during his late-night monologues. “You see a no-talent guy like Colbert,” said Trump. “There’s nothing funny about what he says. And what he says is filthy. And you have kids watching. And it only builds up my base. It only helps me, people like him.”
In response to Trump’s statements, Colbert declared victory against him:
“Mr. Trump, there’s a lot you don’t understand. But I never thought one of those things would be show business! Don’t you know I’ve been trying for a year to get you to say my name, and you were very restrained—admirably restrained—but now you did it,” Colbert said, before pointing to himself and whispering, “I won.”