Comics including Colbert and Kimmel addressed Trumps repeated claim that white nationalists and counter-protesters were to blame in Charlottesville
Late-night hosts addressed Donald Trumps erratic press conference at Trump Tower on Tuesday, where he equivocated again when it came to condemning the white supremacists and neo-Nazis who gathered in Charlottesville, while doubling down on his initial statement, made Saturday, that the counter-protesters were also to blame.
You might remember it took Donald Trump two days to condemn the white nationalists and the neo-Nazis who held that rally down in Charlottesville, Stephen Colbert began. But even though many criticized how long it took, the president knew the right thing was to make a statement on Monday to be clear about who was to blame, and then move on to the peoples business.
Just kidding, Colbert added. He held a press conference today in, I believe, the seventh circle of hell. Heres what he said.
Colbert then showed numerous clips of Trumps press conference, which was slated to be about infrastructure; the president defended waiting two days to give a more full-throated condemnation of the white nationalist gathering, where one counter-protester was killed, and said he had needed to wait for the facts.
I wait for the facts, Colbert said, mocking Trump. Just ask the millions of illegal voters who refused to look for Obamas birth certificate during my record-breaking inauguration.
And when the president was asked about his embattled strategist Steve Bannon, he gave him this vote of something, Colbert said, showing a clip of Trump saying Bannon was a good man and not a racist.
If the third thing someone says about you unprompted is hes not a racist, youve got a problem, the host continued. Colbert then tore into Trump for allocating blame on both sides yet again.
What the hell are you talking about? Colbert asked. You know, one side hates minorities, the other side hates people who hate minorities.
Trump added that there were very fine people on both sides and that not all of those people were white supremacists or neo-Nazis.
Thats right, Colbert responded. Some of them were antisemites. It was very diverse.
Jimmy Kimmel of ABC also discussed the press conference, passionately rebuking Trump and pleading to his voters.
I want to apologize, we had so much fun stuff planned for tonight, he began. I thought maybe we wont talk about Donald Trump much tonight, and then he opened his mouth and all manner of stupid came out. And Im not joking when I say I would feel more comfortable if Cersei Lannister was running this country at this point.
It was supposed to be a press conference about infrastructure and it ended with our president making an angry, impassioned defense of white supremacists, Kimmel continued. It was like if your book-club meeting turned into a cockfight. I dont know who decided it would be a good idea to send him out there to talk to reporters today, but whoever did obviously misread his state of mind and the mood in this country right now.
The host continued: I feel like I can say this with reasonable certainty: the president is completely unhinged. The wheels are off the wagon and hurtling toward the moon right now.
Addressing Trumps statement that there were fine people marching with both groups, Kimmel said: Heres the thing. If youre with a group of people and theyre chanting things like Jews will not replace us and you dont immediately leave that group, you are not a very fine person.
Kimmel also pointed out that the former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan David Duke praised the presidents honesty and courage in a tweet following the press conference.
This is so crazy, Kimmel said, incredulously. I want to speak to those of you who voted for Donald Trump. I want to say: I get it. You were unhappy with the way things were going. You didnt want business as usual. Nothing ever seems to get done. And youre sick of it. So this guy shows up riding down a golden escalator. Hes a billionaire, hes not politically correct. Hes not even correct, usually. He talks tough. He wants to drain the swamp.
And you thought, you know what this guys different, and I want different. Lets shake this Etch-A-Sketch hard and start over. So you vote for him. And then he beats the ultimate political insider, Hillary Clinton. You picked a horse at, like, 35-1 and it paid off. It starts off OK. He meets with President Obama and they seem to have a nice conversation.
Kimmel then read a laundry list of the presidents blunders, big and small, thus far: nuclear brinkmanship with North Korea; his praise of dictators such as Rodrigo Duterte and Vladimir Putin; his fights with his own attorney general, the Senate majority leader and the mayor of London; frequent golf outings; the firing of James Comey and many members of the administration; the travel ban from Muslim-majority countries; and his proposal, without consulting his own generals, to ban transgender troops in the military.
If I went through all of it, it would be longer than the menu at the Cheesecake Factory, Kimmel said. By every reasonable account, he is a total disaster. He screws up royally every day, sometimes two or three times a day. But youve been trying to ignore it because you dont want to admit to these smug, annoying liberals that they were right. But deep down inside you know you made a mistake.
So you can do one of two things, the host proposed. You can dig in like Chris Christie at a hometown buffet. Or you could treat the situation like you would if you put Star Wars wallpaper up in the kitchen: all right, I got caught up. I was excited. I made a mistake and now it needs to go. Well, now he does need to go. So its time for you, especially you who voted for him, to tell him to go.
Finally, Seth Meyers of NBC addressed a tumultuous day for the administration and the country.
President Trump this afternoon gave a press conference that can only be described as clinically insane, he said. You know that list of side effects at the end of a pharmaceutical ad? He apparently has all of them.
Meyers went on: He said, among other things, that there were very fine people on both sides of the events in Charlottesville. He asked if people on the left have any guilt that the white supremacists became violent, and then he said this.
Meyers then showed clips of Trump comparing Robert E Lee to Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, asking if statues of them would be taken down too. Where does it stop? Trump said.
Where does it stop? Weve been asking ourselves that question since January, Meyers quipped. Congress, isnt this enough? Cut bait on the president.