Just as the majority of late-night television hosts were beginning their August vacations, The Daily Show’s Trevor Noah was returning to work on Monday.
And he missed a lot while he was away.
Acknowledging his show’s long absence over these past couple of weeks, the host said, “Like the sun, we briefly disappeared.” With “everything going on in America, it’s getting too much,” Noah said, explaining how he just wanted to “escape all the racial tension.” That’s why he returned home to South Africa. When he finally came back to the U.S., he said, “It turns out, I left the third world and landed in the Third Reich.”
With that, Noah moved on to the biggest story he missed while he was away. “I know that this happened a week ago, but I’m not going to lie, I’m still processing everything,” Noah said of Charlottesville and President Trump’s reaction to it. “First of all, a racist neo-Nazi killed a peacefully protesting woman with his car. Then the president of the United States defended the neo-Nazis who that dude was marching with.”
“And this is the thing: it’s not once, but twice,” he continued. “Donald Trump said it, then three days later he came back and said, hey, hey, you know how I said that Nazi-defending thing? Well, I just realized I didn’t defend them enough.”
For a moment, Noah thought, “OK, this was it. This was clearly not what presidents do. After tragic national events, a leader, even a mediocre leader, says things to unite the country, to calm the tensions, not inflame them.” Even during Apartheid, he said, the “racist” government drew the line at Nazis.
“But today, in America, we’re not even at that point?” he asked. “Seven months into his term—41 months to go, by the way—and the president of the United States has officially legitimized white supremacists. Basically saying we need to see things from the Nazis’ point of view. You know, march a mile in their boots.”
However, this was not the “straw that broke the camel’s back” he was hoping for, as 67 percent of Republicans, according to one poll, approved of how Trump handled the Charlottesville attack.
“Here’s the thing: if so many of Trump’s supporters are willing to give Nazis the benefit of the doubt, then clearly anything goes,” he said. “There is no line that they won’t cross and, clearly, no cross that they won’t burn.”
As the only black host on late-night television, Trevor Noah’s voice was badly missed over the past two weeks. It’s good to have him back.