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Late night Tackles the government shutdown
January 29, 2019

"Congratulations — we have a government," Stephen Colbert said on Monday's Late Show. He poked a little fun at the wall-less "compromise" deal President Trump signed to reopen the government, but "not everyone out there thinks that Donald Trump folded like an origami swan. For instance, Donald Trump." He read Trump's tweet about this not being a "concession" and threatening that if he doesn't get his wall money in 21 days, it's "off to the races!" And, Colbert continued in Trump voice, "believe me folks, I know races — many people call me a racist."

Trump doubts he would accept less than $5.7 billion for his wall, "so just to be clear, he's making the exact same offer, backed by the exact same threat, but somehow he expects different results," Colbert recapped. "Well, you know what they say: The definition of insanity is Donald Trump."

"Have you ever noticed how all of Trump's accomplishments are just fixing things that he broke?" Trevor Noah asked on The Daily Show. "Although it was only 35 days, the government shutdown's effects will continue to hurt America for a while. And maybe it would have been all worth it for Trump if he had gotten some of that sweet, sweet wall money. But he folded with nothing to show for it. And even some of his strongest supporters are admitting that Trump got owned by Nancy Pelosi, bigly." He showed some examples.

"Damn, you know it's bad when even Trump's personal cheerleaders are dunking on him," Noah said. "You understand, these are the people he watches every night to make him feel good about himself." He had a good laugh at the indefatigable Trump boosters spinning this as a victory, "but if you ignore the stans over at Fox News, it's pretty clear this shutdown was a political disaster for President Trump," he said, and "only a true moron" would try it again. Watch below. Peter Weber

January 25, 2019

On Wednesday, the State of the Union showdown between President Trump came to a head — and ended with a whimper, not a bang. "Trump delayed his State of the Union, and now people are saying Pelosi 'owned' him," Jimmy Fallon said on Thursday's Tonight Show. "Then Putin said, 'Stay in your lane, girl!'" He made some jokes about a marijuana company passing out free weed to unpaid government workers, then turned to "the situation in Venezuela," where "their former president is being forced out. It's a pretty complicated story, everybody's covering it, but not every network covers news the same way." He showed three different news networks at 7:50 Thursday morning, and one of them wasn't like the others.

"This is pretty historic," Trevor Noah agreed at The Daily Show. "A 35-year-old just swore himself in as the new president of Venezuela. Yeah, the world's first selfie inauguration — very millennial." He moved on to "another formerly prosperous country that is falling into unrest, the United States," and "Day 34 of the government shutdown." Trump's scrapping the State of the Union is just one of the mounting effects of the shutdown, Noah said. "Look at that: Donald Trump and Nancy Pelosi facing off, and Trump blinked first. Which of course we knew would happen, because Nancy Pelosi does not blink."

"Pelosi really got the best of him," Jimmy Kimmel said on Kimmel Live, cracking a spanking joke. "It wasn't the kind of coverage the president likes to get — he likes to win — so to change the narrative, I guess, he held an impromptu press conference tonight from the Cabinet Room." Trump warned about another "caravan" and made a show of blaming himself for the shutdown, but a solid majority of Americans actually do blame him, Kimmel said, and "his sycophants aren't helping." He had a wry laugh at Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross' "Can't we all just get a loan?" comment. Watch below. Peter Weber

January 25, 2019

"It's now Day 34 of the government shutdown, which we've entitled, 'No Country Cuz Old Men,'" Stephen Colbert said on Thursday's Late Show, "and it doesn't look like it's going to end anytime soon" after the Senate rejected two rival bills to reopen the government. "But even though both bills lost, the biggest loser here is the president, because the Democratic bill got more votes than [President] Trump's," Colbert said. "The Democrats won the losing! This is a two-day losing streak for Donald Trump," he added, noting that on Wednesday night "he finally tweeted a white flag" in his State of the Union fight with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-N.Y.).

"Pelosi dominated him," Colbert said. "We finally got what we were promised in 2016: A woman declaring victory over Donald Trump." Trump may be a big loser here, but he isn't the only loser, he added, noting some of the "dire" consequences of 800,000 federal workers not getting paid, including a terrifying statement from the air traffic controllers' union. "That is dangerous," he deadpanned. "You don't want burned-out air traffic controllers waiting tables! You could end up with onion rings instead of fries."

Not everyone seems all that worried about the plight of the unpaid federal workers, though, Colbert said, showing Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross shrugging in confusion. "Fun fact: He's worth $2.9 billion," he said. "That's one point for you, atheists." And Colbert only got a tiny bit of joy out of Jared Kushner eating a little slice of humble pie on the shutdown, even if it was served by Trump. Watch below. Peter Weber

January 24, 2019

Stephen Colbert taped Wednesday's Late Show in the midst of a fight between President Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) over this year's State of the Union speech. "The situation is chaotic and bitter and confusing — which is actually the state of our union," he said. He ran through Wednesday's standoff, but the bottom line is that Trump had no leverage here. He can't enter the House "unless they invite him in — Congress works on vampire rules," Colbert said. "It's appropriate, because this is sucking the blood out of this country."

So Pelosi "spanked him with a coequal branch" and said no, and Trump hit back by debuting a new nickname for Pelosi, Colbert said, bemused: "Your nickname for Nancy Pelosi is 'Nancy'?" Still up until he caved, it seemed "pretty obvious Trump's going to do something," since the White House had already prepared two versions of the speech, one to deliver in the House chamber and the other somewhere else in the country. "Yeah, but it has to be a location befitting this president's dignity," Colbert said. "So maybe a ball pit at McDonald's or a sand trap or — oh, I know — Red Square." There was also speculation Trump would deliver his speech at a rally, an idea The Late Show turned into a brief commercial.

Trump's poll numbers are "crumbling," Colbert noted, "they're just tanking right now, and he's got his back up against the lack of wall, so this morning, Trump unveiled his plan to win everybody back: a rhyming couplet." He found the last part of the tweet less than inspiring — "You wouldn't buy condoms if their tag line was 'Trojan: Use it and Pray!'" — but he turned the main "Build a Wall & Crime Will Fall" couplet into an entire poem. It's surprisingly poignant. Watch below. Peter Weber

January 22, 2019

"Happy Martin Luther King Day, in which we honor Dr. King's dream, 50 percent off at Nordstrom's," Stephen Colbert joked on Monday's Late Show. He caught everyone up on the Rams-Saints game and a blatant foul that cost New Orleans the game, and "speaking of things that make you scream at your TV: Donald Trump," he said, pivoting.

On Day 31 of the government shutdown, President Trump hasn't forgotten about the 800,000 workers going without paychecks, but Colbert found his supportive tweet wanting. "They're not volunteering to work for free," he pointed out. "You might as well have tweeted: 'THANK YOU, GREAT PATRIOTS! Please accept this Tweet in lieu of a paycheck. Quick tip: tell your landlord Mexico's going to pay your rent.'"

But Trump did go on TV Saturday and "made an offer that he was sure everyone would love," Colbert said. "In exchange for his border wall, Trump offered to restore DACA and TPS protections for three years — which is weird, since they're protections that he himself took away." Democrats "somehow did not fall for" Trump's temporary hostage deal, he said, and in fact, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) "said no before Trump even asked — a move known in Washington as 'The Melania.'"

On Jimmy Kimmel Live, Kimmel's Abe Lincoln was joined by George Washington (Fred Armisen), Thomas Jefferson (Bobby Moynihan), and Teddy Roosevelt (Jeff Ross) on Mount Rushmore as a new face was added: Trump (Anthony Atamanuik). The former presidents wanted to know what Trump did to get on the monument. "I also ended slavery," Kimmel's Lincoln said. "That's not true — I've been making a bunch of federal employees work for free for 31 days," Trump said. And he also made some ... changes to the treasured national park. Watch below. Peter Weber

January 18, 2019

The 27-day-old government shutdown "is getting ugly, and it was never a beauty queen," Stephen Colbert said on Thursday's Late Show. On Wednesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) asked President Trump to postpone or scrap his State of the Union address until after the government reopened, citing security concerns, and on Thursday, 45 minutes before Pelosi was supposed to get on a plane to visit NATO allies in Belgium and U.S. troops in Afghanistan, Trump informed her that he was canceling her trip.

"Now, Trump has the power to do this because Pelosi was flying military transport and he's the commander-in-chief, but Trump did give her another option": Fly commercial, Colbert said. "I'm sure JetBlue offers daily nonstop flights to a war zone." And not only did Trump spoil Pelosi's top-secret trip, he referred to her as "Madame" Speaker, not Madam Speaker, he noted. "A 'Madame speaker' is what Trump uses to order at a drive-thru brothel."

Trump is clearly urging Pelosi to fly commercial "like it's the worst thing he could think of," Trevor Noah said at The Daily Show. "That's hard-core, though, right? Canceling her flight right before she's about to take off. That's like the complete opposite of a romantic comedy." To be fair to Trump, he said, "Nancy Pelosi's letter was a little bit snarky, right? But it's crazy that Trump's GPS never takes him onto the high road."

Noah dipped into Cardi B's viral plea to end the shutdown — "How cool would it be if Cardi B somehow ended the shutdown? Like, we find out that Trump is a major fan because 'Bodak Yellow' is his favorite song, and also the color of his hair" — and he brought Michael Kosta out to discuss the GoFundMe campaigns of furloughed federal workers and other ways people are coping with the shutdown. Watch below. Peter Weber

January 17, 2019

On Day 26 of the government shutdown, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) made the very "reasonable" request that President Trump reschedule or cancel his State of the Union address, Stephen Colbert said on Wednesday's Late Show. "I mean, what's he gonna do? 'The state of our union is ... all the Democrats' fault.'" Also, Pelosi is doing this "because she can," Colbert said. "Trump acts like the Big Dog, but she won't let the dog into her House because she knows he's going to poop everywhere." Pelosi knows what she's doing, he added. "Nothing hurts Trump more than when you deny him a TV appearance — they already won't let him host the Oscars."

Pelosi's SOTU move is "such a great burn," Seth Meyers agreed at Late Night, but it's just one of the ways Trump is losing the shutdown fight. Yes, "Trump actually thinks he's winning the argument," mostly because "he watches more Fox News than all the residents of a Texas senior center combined," Meyers said. But "what we're witnessing right now are the desperate gasps of the Trump agenda," not just his wall.

But America and its economy are paying the cost, Trevor Noah said on The Daily Show. "You'd think Trump would pay attention to that, because he loves Wall Street. He thinks that's where you get the wall." Still, America's chaos is "nothing compared to what's happening in the U.K.," he said, running through the Brexit mess. "Right now, America's government is shut down and there's trash on the streets. The U.K.'s government is in turmoil and soon they may not have food. And Africa's watching all of this, like, 'Ha-ha, who's laughing now?'"

Jimmy Kimmel tried to reason with Trump in a language he understands: Golf. "With one crazy zig-zag stroke of your executive Sharpie, you could be back on the greens at Mar-a-Lago faster than you could say Pocahontas," he reasoned. "It's a win-win, for us and for you. The federal employees can go back to work and you can get back to doing what you do best: cheating at golf." Watch below. Peter Weber

January 15, 2019

Monday was Day 24 of the government shutdown, "which is a new record," Stephen Colbert noted on The Late Show. "It's one of those sad records, like slowest 100-yard dash or most pizza rolls consumed in a minute — records which are also both held by Donald Trump." He explained how Trump's tweeted shutdown-negotiations overture to Democrats "sounds like the world's worst phone-sex hotline," and is bound to be as successful. "Clearly, Trump has painted himself into a corner," he said "which isn't easy when your office is oval."

Colbert suggested that the stress of the shutdown is getting to Trump, reading and annotating the president's tweets refuting reports of "chaos" in the White House because "there's almost nobody" home but him, then Trump's justification for shutting down the government to get his border wall. "He's right, elections do have consequences," Colbert said, "and she's called the speaker of the House."

"Trump was so angry about The Washington Post's Russia bombshell that he tweeted about their owner," Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Colbert said. The Trump-friendly National Enquirer has focused on texts between Bezos — who is getting a divorce — and his girlfriend, and Trump rubbed that in with a tweet about "Jeff Bozo." Colbert was amused: "A man with an orange face and cotton-candy hair is comparing someone else to a clown. You know the old saying: Those who live in glass houses shouldn't throw giant shoes." Still, Bezos' soon-to-be ex-wife, MacKenzie, stands to get up to $69 billion in the divorce settlement, and that gave Colbert an idea. It involves costumes, roses, and Alexa.

The Late Show also found some fake notes Trump's translator took during his extraordinarily secretive talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, as reported in the Post. You can watch that below. Peter Weber

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