Late Night Tackles President Trump
May 16, 2019

President Trump's lawyers asked a federal judge Tuesday to block a House subpoena for Trump's financial documents, on the grounds that Congress has essentially no authority to investigate the president for anything. "Wow, that's a big swing," Stephen Colbert said on Wednesday's Late Show. "Right now, Nixon's ghost is going, 'What the hell? Can I have a redo?'"

"One person who is cooperating with Congress," Colbert said, is Donald Trump Jr. "After weeks of ignoring their subpoena, last night Junior struck a deal for a 'limited' interview" with the GOP-led Senate Intelligence Committee. "To be fair, every meeting with Don Jr. involves limited intelligence," he joked. But the tactic of scaling back the interview by first taking an extreme position is straight out of his father's playbook, Colbert added, acting out an imaginary negotiation between Trump and Don Jr.

Yes, "DJTJ has reached a deal to appear before the Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee to try and convince them he doesn't know anything," Jimmy Kimmel said on Kimmel Live. "I don't know, for him, how hard can that be?" Under the deal, "Don Jr. will testify for up to four hours and he can only be asked questions on five or six topics," Kimmel said, listing some possibilities, real and fake. "Why does everything this family does turn into a game show? Everything." Watch below. Peter Weber

May 10, 2019

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says President Trump is making his own case for impeachment, and Stephen Colbert was confused. "I don't know about 'self-impeachable,' but he is you-impeachable," he said on Thursday's Late Show. Trump argued Thursday he cooperated with Special Counsel Robert Mueller and Mueller found "no collusion and, essentially, no obstruction." Colbert blinked. "'Essentially'? — that's a new one," he said. "There are 10 counts of obstruction outlined in the Mueller report. That's like Moses coming down from the mountain and saying, 'I just talked to God — essentially, no commandments.'"

Colbert chuckled over the White House welcoming the Boston "Red Socks" on Thursday, though "Trump hosted only some of the Red Sox, because at least 10 players, all Latino or African-American, elected not to attend," he said. "Apparently, they didn't want to be in a place associated with racism — other than Fenway Park."

"Red Socks?" Jimmy Kimmel asked at Kimmel Live, "There is no detail too small for them to screw up — I hope they don't ever invite Courtney Cox to the White House! ... And then later in the day, they screwed up again," calling the Red Sox the "World Cup Series" champions, he noted. "Everyone working at the White House is a dope."

Kimmel wasn't convinced we'll learn anything new from Trump's tax returns, though. Everyone knows Trump is "a fraud," but "half of America doesn't care," he said. "Democrats don't realize, it's basically the WWE, it's wrestling, but they're trying to prove that the Undertaker isn't an actual undertaker. Like, 'Hey, this guy has no license to practice funeral directing in any state,' and the Republicans are like: 'Uh, yeah, we know, would you mind stepping aside so we can watch him hit someone with a folding chair?'" He was underwhelmed with Trump's complaints at Wednesday's rally in the Florida Panhandle.

Trump did praise his fans at the Florida rally for, among other things, paying their taxes, Colbert noted. "You know what they say: Opposites attract." Watch below. Peter Weber

April 30, 2019

"This week, the emperor of Japan is giving up the throne," Jimmy Fallon said on Monday's Tonight Show. "If you want to know more, just read the 50 articles about it that Prince Charles taped to the queen's fridge." Back in the U.S., "the race for 2020 is heating up, a lot of people are talking about how old the candidates are," but not President Trump, Fallon said. "Check out what Trump had to say about his own age." Yes, he deadpanned, "nothing says 'young, vibrant man' like a 72-year-old yelling at people on his front lawn."

"As a spry 72-year-old himself, Trump is looking to paint himself as a young, fresh-faced alternative to Joe Biden," Stephen Colbert joked at The Late Show. Still, "I am a young, vibrant man" is "what you usually hear someone say as the nurse leads them out of the parking lot back into the day room. ... And what does he mean, 'I'm the youngest person'? Of all of his 10,000 lies, that might be the biggest."

With more than 10,000 recorded false or misleading statements as president, Trump is "not just a pathological liar — he is now a mythological liar," Jimmy Kimmel said on Kimmel Live. He showed a montage of Trump saying "It's true" after saying something outrageous.

Kimmel also wished "a belated happy birthday" to first lady Melania Trump, who turned 49 on Friday, and he raised an eyebrow at the photo the White House used to wish her many happy returns. "I love this because someone at the White House had to go through all the pictures of Melania for her birthday, and this is the happiest one they found," he said. "Not only did Melania get a birthday tweet, her husband cooked up, he arranged a very, very special double date to celebrate her special day." Watch below. Peter Weber

April 17, 2019

Stephen Colbert said on Tuesday's Late Show that he "was shocked and horrified" to watch Notre Dame cathedral burn in Paris on Monday, but "the news isn't all bad." There were no deaths, "and while the roof was lost and the spire collapsed, the church itself survived, including the magnificent rose window," he said, showing his team's recreation of the stained glass masterpiece on the domed ceiling of the Ed Sullivan Theater.

France has vowed to rebuild Notre Dame, and French corporations and business tycoons have already pledged more than $700 million, but "I just pray that they don't sell the naming rights," Colbert joked. "It would just not be the same to visit the Tostitos Notre Dame Cathedral at Monster Energy Ile de la Cite."

Meanwhile, as "the fire was just raging at its hottest, Donald Trump offered his, um, help?" Colbert said, reading the president's tweeted advice to use "flying water tankers" and fight the fire "quickly!" He acted out how Trump must have imagined France would react to his unsolicited counsel, but in fact, France's civil security service did respond, Colbert noted. And "for firefighters, they really know how to give a sick burn."

Trump also offered unsought advice to Boeing on Monday, and Colbert took Trump's rhetorical question — "What the hell do I know?" — literally. "Not much, which is maybe why you shouldn't be tweeting about how to put out fires and fix planes," he said. "First you should learn how to drink a glass of water, close an umbrella, and pass a flag without copping a feel."

Special Counsel Robert Mueller's redacted report will now be released Thursday, not Tuesday, as originally planned, Colbert said. "The Justice Department delayed it with no explanation. I have a feeling they're hoping to bury it over that holiday weekend, because if there's one thing Easter is famous for, it's things staying buried." He winked. Watch below. Peter Weber

April 11, 2019

Wednesday was the deadline for the IRS to turn over six years of President Trump's tax returns to House Democrats, but "he's never going to let us see those taxes," Jimmy Kimmel said on Wednesday's Kimmel Live. And it's not because of audits or anything else, Kimmel added: "I believe the reason he won't show us his taxes is because he's not as rich as he claims to be."

Kimmel turned to Politico's recounting of a trip Trump took last year to Mount Vernon with French President Emmanuel Macron. "Trump was reportedly underwhelmed," he said. "He complained that the rooms in the house were too small, the staircases were too narrow, and the toilets were colored white instead of gold, the traditional presidential color."

Trump also asked the tour guide if Washington was really rich, "which is a good question, if you are in kindergarten," Kimmel said. "Then he said if George Washington had been smart, he would have put his name on Mount Vernon, [because,] he said, 'You've got to put your name on stuff or no one remembers you.' That's why he put his name on Donald Jr., because otherwise no one will remember him."

Trump "does know Washington has a whole city named after him?" Kimmel asked. "It's called Washington, and he lives in it. If he was your uncle, it would be funny, right?"

Yes, Trump reportedly said of Washington, "If he was smart, he would've put his name on it," Seth Meyers said at Late Night. "Trump then added, "But I guess he was stupid,' before returning to Washington, D.C.'"

"When a staffer said, 'Sir, where you live is named after him,' Trump said, 'You mean, George Washington's real last name was Mar-a-Lago Golf Course?'" Jimmy Fallon joked at The Tonight Show. Watch his entire monologue below. Peter Weber

April 4, 2019

President Trump savaged windmills on Tuesday night, and Wednesday's Late Show reminded everyone why Trump might be scared of the wind.

Yes, at a Republican dinner where he also had the chutzpah to roast Joe Biden for being handsy, Trump "started attacking windmills," Trevor Noah said at The Daily Show. "Yeah, you heard me, windmills," and some of the attacks were a little out of left field. "I really can't believe that I have to say this, people, but noise from windmills does not cause cancer," he said. "In fact, at this point, it's probably one of the only things that doesn't cause cancer."

It turns out, windmills are "Trump's arch enemy," Noah said. "They're part of his origin story, like a superhero whose parents were killed by a very slowly moving fan." Trump's "got all kinds of reasons" for dissing windmills, "starting with the danger they pose to America's most precious resources, television," he said. Also, national security and ... birds.

"To be fair to Trump, windmills do kill birds, and some people are legitimately concerned about it," Noah said. "But I don't think Donald Trump is one of those people." He dug into why "Donald Quixote over here is in a war with windmills," and it turns out "it was never really about birds or television; it was always about golf," he said. And that knowledge could save the world.

The Late Show's Stephen Colbert solemnly mocked the idea of Trump grieving birds: "Here he is attending a wake for a beloved chicken. The funeral was open-bucket. 'Rest in 12-piece.'" He also rolled his eyes at the cancer head-scratcher. "Of course windmills cause cancer," Colbert deadpanned. "That's why everyone in Holland is dead. Also, noise does not cause cancer — although I believe listening to Donald Trump might cause brain damage." Watch below. Peter Weber

April 3, 2019

Democrats are about to vote to subpoena Attorney General William Barr for an unredacted version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report, and last week President Trump said releasing the report would be fine with him, Stephen Colbert said on Tuesday's Late Show. But on Tuesday, he said "the White House will fight the release," and Colbert paraphrased Trump's argument, in Trump voice: "No obstruction, it says so right in the document — and if you try to see the document, I'm going to obstruct you."

Trump continued on about the Mueller report, and Colbert asked viewers to "notice his small slip of the brain." It wasn't hard. Keying off Trump's bizarre malapropism for "origin," Colbert unleashed a series of orange-related puns, then modified a classic knock-knock joke. "Knock knock." "Who's there?" "Orange." 'Orange who?" "Orange you ashamed we have a president who can't pronounce 'origins'?"

"And since he was talking, Trump just tacked on a random lie — because, you know, why not?" — about his father, Colbert said. "Yes, it's true, Frederick Trump was born in a very wonderful place in Germany — New York City in 1905."

"I was kind of hoping I could go the whole week without mentioning President Trump," Jimmy Kimmel said, live from Las Vegas. But then "he had a little bit of trouble with the word 'origin.'" Kimmel had a theory. "What happens is he wakes up every morning, he sees the color of his face, and the rest of the day he has that word stuck in his head. By the way, that wasn't even the weirdest quote of the day," he said, showing Trump's whopper about Fred Trump: "Donald Trump's father was not born in Germany, he was born in the Bronx. Which would mean J.Lo is from Germany, too, I guess. At this point he's just messing with us, right? He's now questioning his own father's birth certificate." Watch below. Peter Weber

March 28, 2019

President Trump has been "living it up since the Barr report on the Mueller report totally cleared him of half the charges," Stephen Colbert said on Wednesday's Late Show. "That is a huge boost, and you can see it in his approval ratings" — which are unchanged, except that a 43 percent plurality said Mueller's report made them view Trump less favorably. "So let me get this straight," he said: "After finding out that he did not collude with the Russians, people liked him less?"

Still, after being pummeled on the Mueller investigation for two years, Trump "finally has a chance to get on America's good side," Colbert said. "Step 1: Take away everyone's health care, because Trump is trying to kill ObamaCare — again." Seriously, "how dumb is this guy?" he asked. "In the midterms he got his ass kicked because health care was the top issue for voters."

"But it's not just health care," Colbert said: Trump also wants to end aid to hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico. And "if you want cartoon-villain bad," look no further than Education Secretary Betsy DeVos' plan to slash $7 billion from education programs — and cut all federal funding for the Special Olympics. "Now, obviously it would be easy to that that's evil — but it would also be accurate."

Zeroing-out Special Olympics funding "just sounds mean, right?" Trevor Noah said at The Daily Show. "Because here's the thing: The $18 million that they're going to save isn't even that much money for a government. It's actually what the government spends for Trump to visit Mar-a-Lago five times. ... So at the very least, you could compromise on this issue: Send the kids to Mar-a-Lago and make Donald run for once in his life."

"In four days, Trump has gone after sick people, special-needs kids, and hurricane victims," Noah said. "I feel like right now, baby seals are like, 'Well, we had a good run, folks.'" For a different perspective on "Trump being a total a--hole," Noah brought out an expert, Michael Kosta. Watch below. Peter Weber

See More Speed Reads