On Monday night, Stephen Colbert took President Donald Trump to task for his “disturbing” joint press conference with Vladimir Putin. Tuesday, he roasted the president’s pathetic attempt at a walk-back.
Standing next to Putin in Helsinki, Trump said of the 2016 cyber attack on the U.S. election, “I don’t see any reason why it would be” Russia. Twenty-four hours later, he tried to clarify that statement by claiming that he had meant to say, “I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be,” adding, “Sort of a double negative.”
“Let’s see how dumb you think the American people are,” the Late Show host said before playing the clip of Trump making his manufactured clarification. “Yes, the sentence should have been that,” he added. “It was not that.”
“But then again, who among us has not said the exact opposite of what he just said in front of cameras on multiple occasions?” Colbert asked. “I’m sorry, let me clarify. That sentence should have been, ‘Who among us has not not done that?’”
If Trump can “just add a new word in,” the host wondered, “What’s next?” Trump could claim that after Charlottesville, he meant to say there’s “bad people on both sides.” Or on the Access Hollywood bus that he actually intended to say, “Respect her by the pussy.”
“So of all the terrible words you said in that press conference, you’re only taking back one of them?” Colbert asked. He answered his question in Trump’s voice: “I meant to say ‘wouldn’t,’ OK? But that part where I was asked to condemn Putin but instead I improvised a surrealist slam poem about Hillary’s email server? Nailed it.”
Meanwhile, during his monologue, Late Night’s Seth Meyers similarly criticized Trump’s “double negative” defense. “Well, I don’t think he’s not an idiot,” the host joked. “Your defense is that you meant to say the opposite of what you said. That’s like Papa John claiming that he meant to say ‘whitey.’”