×
Late Night Tackles Trump and Immigration
April 10, 2019

Immigration is the throbbing id of President Trump's politics, and it also "got him two of his wives," Stephen Colbert said on Tuesday's Late Show. "But there's been a huge spike in illegal immigration since Trump took office, and he looks like an idiot — not sure which of those two things came first — so he's mad, he's hoppin' mad." Trump has reacted with a purge of the Department of Homeland Security, from outgoing Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen on down. "It is going to be tough to find people to fill those positions — if only there was a group of folks willing to do jobs Americans don't want to do," he deadpanned.

On Tuesday, Trump "denied he's doing the things that he's already started doing," including "cleaning house" at DHS and coming up with his administration's migrant family separation policy, Colbert said. He acerbically reminded Trump that, contrary to his claim, former President Barack Obama did not come up with or enact that policy, or publicly defend it, like Trump did "in the same meeting where you claimed it was all Obama's fault. ... Don't get me wrong, Obama's no angel here," Colbert said, teeing up an adorable slide show. "I mean, there is ample evidence of Barack taking kids from their parents, subjecting them to harsh interrogations, even confiscating all of their hugs."

"Now President Trump evidently does not care that his border policy isn't — uh, what's the word? — legal," Colbert said. He delivered a PSA to the border agents Trump reportedly told to break the law.

The Late Show also had some advice for anyone hoping to join the ranks of Trump's growing "acting" Cabinet, and you can watch that below. Peter Weber

April 9, 2019

President Trump is "upset with Homeland Security, but his real problem, as usual, is with the law," Stephen Colbert said on Monday's Late Show. Legally, anyone facing persecution can seek asylum at the U.S. border. "But here's the thing: The more Trump complains about illegal immigrants, the worse the problem gets," he said. "Some experts say migrants are choosing to make the crossing now because they fear that Trump's tough policies will make it harder to get across later."

Frustrated that his policies aren't working, Trump tweeted out a threat and warning on Sunday night, claiming "Our Country is FULL!" Colbert read the tweets, and he disagreed. "First off, I don't think our country is full — I mean, did you see his inauguration crowd?" he joked. "Look at all that empty space — you could fit, like, three Mexicos in there." In a speech to the Republican Jewish Coalition on Saturday, "Trump explained why he wants to turn away desperate migrants fleeing for their lives," Colbert said, playing part of the speech. "Again, that's the Republican Jewish Coalition applauding turning away immigrants fleeing persecution. #AlwaysForget."

"Trump is saying this 'full' thing over and over again," he said. "It's the new 'Lock her up!' or 'Build the wall' — you know eventually it's going to end up as a call-and-response." To demonstrate, Colbert went with an Exodus theme and got some help from the band. Watch below. Peter Weber

April 2, 2019

"In response to a surge of migrants coming into this country, today [President] Trump unveiled a new approach that treats asylum-seekers fairly and humanely," Stephen Colbert said on Monday's Late Show. "April Fools!" Actually, "Trump threatened to shut the Mexico border — just in time for Spring Break," he said. "Hey, college kids, I know you had your hearts set on Cancún, but how about Spring Break Wall!'"

"Trump announced his threat in an epic, three-part policy tweet," Colbert said, and he had to take two water breaks while reading them. Then he explained why closing the border would be bad, threatening 5 million American jobs, for example — and America's entire avocado supply. "Holy lack-of-guacamole," Colbert said. "What are we supposed to put on our toast now? Jelly? You go to Concord Grape hell, old man."

"Officials are claiming that the United States will run out of avocados within three weeks if President Trump closes the U.S.-Mexico border, which is bad," Seth Meyers agreed on Late Night. "But I think it's way more disconcerting that everything has to be explained to the public in avocados. 'There will be a trade war! Families will be torn apart! Our national reputation will be damaged!' 'Uh huh.' 'No guacamole!' 'What!?! Impeach!'"

Frustratingly, Trump's policies are just making the border crisis worse, Trevor Noah said at The Daily Show. Cutting aid to Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala — the three "Mexican countries," as Fox News put it — will only drive more migrants to America, he said. But "don't worry, the president already has a solution for that: He's going to slap a 'closed' sign at the bottom of America."

Shutting down the border "wouldn't just hurt the hombres down south," Noah said, pointing to the avocado shortage. "Once again, Donald Trump has shown there's no problem he can't make twice as bad. Because you realize if white people can't get avocados in America, they're going to start fleeing to Mexico, and now there's going to be a crisis on both sides of the border." Watch below. Peter Weber

February 12, 2019

"America could be sliding toward a new government shutdown," Stephen Colbert said on Monday's Late Show. Lawmakers are in talks, "but Trump might not wait for Congress to get his wall," he said. "Remember the thousands of troops he sent down to the border because he couldn't get his wall? Well, now the White House is saying they might declare a national emergency because they need the wall to protect the troops near the southwestern border."

"Tonight, Trump took national security into his own hands by personally going to the border and yelling at it, giving a rally in El Paso," Colbert said. El Paso was safe before the wall and it's safe now, he added, suggesting Trump picked the city for his rally by "looking at his favorite taco products." But mostly, Trump has been spending his days in "Executive Time," tweeting, Colbert said. He defined "Executive Time" as "awake but not out of bed yet" but "also what Paul Manafort is serving."

"Apparently, Trump spent a lot of his 'Executive Time' checking out his competition in 2020, like Sen. Amy Klobuchar, seen here announcing her campaign this weekend on either a nice day in Minnesota or a bad day on the ice planet Hoth," Colbert joked. "Trump was not impressed," trying to mock Klobuchar for "talking proudly of fighting global warming while standing in a virtual blizzard," looking "like a Snowman(woman)!" Colbert found Trump's sensitivity "so sweet, very nice, very thoughtful. For a guy who's too dumb to understand how winter works, he is surprisingly respectful of snowperson gender identity." Trump "also rehashed some racist greatest hits about Elizabeth Warren and in general was just terrible," Colbert said, but he also told everyone to light up. "I kind of feel like he's sending mixed signals on Twitter: 'Everyone just kick back, chillax, and get murdered by an immigrant.'" Watch below. Peter Weber

January 10, 2019

Wednesday's Late Show opened with an abbreviated version of President Trump's Tuesday night address from the Oval Office, using added cue cards to highlight his prominent breathing and overall truthiness.

Trump met Wednesday with Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer to try to negotiate an end to the 19-day-long government shutdown, and "the meeting did not last long," Stephen Colbert said, because when Pelosi told Trump she wouldn't agree to fund his border wall, he cut it short. "He slammed the table and walked out — he was so angry he did exercise!" he deadpanned. After the meeting, Pelosi said Trump thinks the 800,000 federal workers who won't get paychecks Friday "maybe could just ask their father for more money, but they can't." Damn, Colbert said, Trump "should ask his father for some ointment, because he just got burned!"

"If you are disappointed about this breakdown in talks, then you must have been really disappointed last night," when Trump gave a "low-energy Jeb-version" of his standard immigration stump speech, Trevor Noah said at The Daily Show. "And eight minutes of it was just Trump sniffing," he said, showing some examples. "He was sniffing so much, it sounds like he's trying to get all the drugs off the street himself." Noah talked through Trump's overheated immigration fearmongering, and he ended with a Melania joke and actual 2004 footage of Trump encouraging people to do whatever it takes to get around a concrete wall.

"In his speech Trump criticized Democrats, insulted immigrants, and said we need a wall," Jimmy Fallon said on The Tonight Show. "By the end, anyone playing a Trump drinking game was like, 'Call an ambulance!'"

On Late Night, Seth Meyers walked through Trump's evolving, convoluted history of talking about his wall, arguing that most of his supporters never expected him to build it "any more than they expected Trump to actually 'lock her up.'" Watch below. Peter Weber

January 9, 2019

Up until Tuesday, President Trump had used the Oval Office "exclusively for Kardashian meet-and-greets, but tonight he got very serious," Jimmy Kimmel said on Tuesday's Kimmel Live. "All the major networks covered this live, and for good reason: It was historic. Rarely does a president of the United States interrupt prime-time television to warn us about a completely made-up thing." He showed a fabricated disclaimer the networks didn't show before Trump's speech to assuage their concerns about giving Trump a platform to lie to the public.

In his speech, Trump made clear "he does want us to believe there's a crisis at the border besides the one he created," Kimmel recapped. "He desperately wants us to be worried about the border," but he's going about it all wrong. Kimmel suggested warning people that chupacabras are flooding America via Tijuana "to eat our children and our Instagram. That's how you get people fired up." He doctored Trump's speech to show how effective his idea would have been.

Kimmel reviewed a bit more of Trump's address, noted "he almost looked sedated — it was like somebody slipped a Xanax into his McFlurry this afternoon" — and gave his less-than-stellar grade on the follow-up speech by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). Watch below. Peter Weber

December 12, 2018

On Tuesday, President Trump hosted Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to discuss averting a government shutdown, with cameras rolling. The main bone of contention? "Trump is demanding $5 billion for a border wall, and as you can imagine, Democrats would rather release Obama's original Kenyan birth certificate than give Trump that wall money," Trevor Noah said on Tuesday's Daily Show. "Which is why this meeting turned into an absolute mess."

"It felt like being in the TV room of a nursing home, with just old people fighting," Noah said, but the bickering wasn't just over the wall, it was over preventing the shutdown, and "no politician wants to take the blame for a government shutdown. But Donald Trump is not a politician. Donald Trump is a moron." He played the clip. "I don't know if you realize how monumental this moment is: Donald Trump just agreed to take blame for something," he said. "So today, I'm proud of President Trump, because taking blame shows some personal growth on his part. Although if we're being honest, he probably thinks that if the government shuts down, there'll be nobody there to impeach him."

"To be clear, he's offering to take all the blame for the thing you always blame the other side for," Stephen Colbert pointed out on The Late Show. "You'll notice the whole time Trump was bragging about his shutdown, Chuck Schumer did his best not to make eye contact with Trump, like you do with a drunk guy screaming on the subway." After the meeting, Pelosi \ compared negotiating with Trump to a "tinkle contest with a skunk," then questioned Trump's "manhood." Colbert laughed, then added to Pelosi's quip. He explained Trump's political dilemma about needing "a wall that both does and does not exist — I just hope he has good mime skills." You can watch Colbert's skills below. Peter Weber

November 2, 2018

At an official White House speech on immigration Thursday evening, President Trump started by saying that under his leadership, America has been a welcoming country. "Good plan, Mr. President, warm up the crowd with a joke," Stephen Colbert said on Thursday's Late Show.

"Trump also unveiled a strange new gun policy," Colbert said, where a rock will be treated as a firearm. "Yes, a firearm. What do you think AR-15 stands for? A Rock-15." But Trump wasn't done with his "rocks-are-guns theory," he said, calling a rock just like a rifle. "So, for the record, paper no longer beats rock," Colbert joked. "And Trump is encouraging shooting unarmed immigrants to appeal to the ladies," saying women really do not want immigrants in the country. "Believe me," Colbert said in his Trump voice, "because I am the embodiment of what women do not want."

And "Trump believes the GOP is gonna do well because he appeals to Christians," Colbert said, playing a clip and cracking a joke about Jesus (Spanish pronunciations) and his "caravan of 12 strong young men. And I hear there's a lot of Middle Easterners mixed in there."

"Last night, Trump held a rally in Florida where he attacked immigrants, Democrats, and the media," Jimmy Fallon said on The Tonight Show. "Even the biggest Trump supporters in the crowd were like 'Play some new stuff!'" He cleverly turned Trump's nonstop campaigning into a Johnny Cash song, and came up with closing arguments for Senate candidates, like Florida's Rick Scott (R): "Vote for me so I will finally be able to STOP HARRY POTTER."

Late Night's Seth Meyers was less genial. "Trump's racist fearmongering over immigration is the latest scam from a guy who's been scamming people his entire life, and he's right at home in the modern GOP," he said. "They're robbing you, and they're trying to distract you while they do it." Watch below. Peter Weber

See More Speed Reads