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Late Night Tackles Trump and Immigration
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

November 1, 2018

"Leading up to the election, [President] Trump's a little nervous, so he's tried everything to scare his base into voting for Republicans, and today he spoke about a threat to the one thing most precious to him: money," Stephen Colbert said on Wednesday's Late Show. Trump is warning that if Democrats are elected, the markets will go down. Economists and market analysts say that's not what's going on, but what Trump's doing, "I think that's called extortion," Colbert said, switching into Trump voice: "Look, I'm just gonna say, real nice economy you got here, I'd hate to see something happen to it. I'm just saying, I've stuffed the Dow with oily rags and my son Eric loves to play with matches."

From a comedy standpoint, the best part of Trump's economic fearmongering is that he bases his expertise in macroeconomics on his hosting a reality show, Colbert said. But his vow on Twitter that birthright citizenship "will be ended one way or another" had a darker edge. "Is he threatening babies?" he asked. Trump's newest round of caravan fearmongering, meanwhile, includes tweets to the caravanning migrants. Colbert was bemused: "Does he think the folks in the caravan are reading his tweets?"

The Daily Show's Trevor Noah had a beef with Trump and Fox News calling the migrants "illegal," when they aren't even near the U.S. and asylum is a legal process. But he didn't let other media companies off the hook. "Fox makes it an antagonistic thing, but I've noticed other news networks in America specifically seem to focus on what the caravan means to America, and less on what the caravan means to the people in the caravan," Noah said. He recounted that when things were really bad in Zimbabwe, he and other South Africans knew what refugees were escaping because the South African press covered the Zimbabwean crisis from the Zimbabwean perspective. Watch below. Peter Weber

October 31, 2018

"Hundreds of people in Pittsburgh spontaneously showed up to protest as President Trump visited the synagogue where 11 people were killed on Saturday in yet another mass shooting," Jimmy Kimmel said on Tuesday's Kimmel Live. The president ignored pleas from local rabbis and the mayor to sit this one out. But the president, you know all he wants is bring people together. And his new plan to make that happen? He says he's going to issue an executive order that would end what's known as birthright citizenship," despite that being enshrined in the 14th Amendment. "It's a bold move," Kimmel joked, "because usually when Trump makes an executive order, it comes with four biscuits, two cups of mashed potatoes, and 10 pieces of the Colonel's extra-crispy fried chicken."

Kimmel played Trump's interview, with Axios, where he falsely stated that the U.S. is the only country with birthright citizenship (more than 30 other nations do, too, including Canada and Mexico) and said the law is ridiculous and has to end. "'It's ridiculous and it has to end' should be the slogan for his re-election campaign," Kimmel quipped. He turned to Trump's continued hyping of "that caravan all the nuts are so scared of."

Kimmel cracked some jokes about the caravan, but Stephen Colbert's Late Show turned it into a Trumpean horror flick.

Kimmel also had a good laugh at the bumbling plot to falsely accuse Special Counsel Robert Mueller of sexual misconduct. That's "very clever: You witch hunt the witch hunter — that way, people won't know which witch hunter to hunt," he said. And the details are even better, including the fact that one of the apparent conspirators, pro-Trump conspiracist Jacob Wohl, linked the plot to his mother's phone number. "I like a scandal that involves a Verizon family plan, you know?" Kimmel joked. "So Jacob might be in trouble with the FBI and grounded by his mother, too." Watch below. Peter Weber

October 31, 2018

The midterms are just a week away, "and this year, the campaigns have been dominated by fear and just really terrible, heartbreaking events," Stephen Colbert said on Tuesday's Late Show. "That's why for Halloween, instead of decorating my house with witches and goblins, I just hung up newspapers."

"Now, our fearmonger-in-chief, the Great Pumpkin," he said, "he knows how to stoke the fear, he knows how to appeal to the Latino-phobic, his Hispanickers, if you will. So this morning, Trump revealed that he was planning an executive order to end birthright citizenship." The idea that people born in the U.S. are American is enshrined in the 14th Amendment, "and it's been reaffirmed multiple times by the Supreme Court over the last 150 years," Colbert said. "But Trump says that his executive order has more legal authority than the 14th Amendment. What do you call a man, a leader of a country, who thinks that what he dictates is more important than the Constitution?" He eventually came up with the d-word he was looking for.

Colbert quickly fact-checked Trump's claims about birthright citizenship, then pivoted to the migrant caravan Trump has been hyping for weeks, noting that he "brought some interesting adjectives to the table" Monday night in a Fox News interview. He ran with Trump's description of the caravan's "young, strong" men, adding that "the most cunning part" of the scare campaign is that "these healthy young men — these strong, young men — are also incredibly sick."

"To combat one of the things he wants you to be afraid of, Trump has announced a plan to deploy 5,200 troops to the southern border," Colbert said, noting the Pentagon's "powerful name for this mission: Operation Faithful Patriot." He had a slightly ruder alternate name.

Jimmy Fallon went another direction on the idea of Trump as a fearmonger, and you can watch his turn as "Count Trumpula" on The Tonight Show below. Peter Weber

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