Late Night Tackles Trump's wall
February 19, 2019

President Trump declared a national emergency at the southern border on Friday, and after "a strange and incoherent appearance" in the Rose Garden, it was clear "the true emergency was taking place in his skull," Stephen Colbert said on Monday's Late Show. He ran through some of the random topics Trump discussed, adding: "I only made a couple of those up, and you don't know which ones." Still, all Trump had to do was say he had no choice but to build his wall by executive fiat, and he even failed at that.

There are already several lawsuits challenging the declaration, but Trump "has a plan, and it goes a little something like this," Colbert said. "A little singsong, don't you think?" he asked after playing the clip. "I can't tell if he was answering a question or reading his Torah portion." "He's nailing that B-flat," Jon Batiste threw in from the piano, and Colbert spun a fantasy about Trump's presidency ending, in B-flat.

At The Daily Show, Trevor Noah was also surprised "Trump admitted he didn't need to declare an emergency, he's just doing it to save time," and he also found it amusing that Trump "wrote a song about" the legal challenges. "It sounds like he's being autotuned," or perhaps "trying to play his own speech on 'Guitar Hero,'" Noah said, inspired by "Cardi D's jam": "What if, the whole time, the key to making Trump a smarter president is just to teach him in song form?" He tried that out with sectarian violence in Yemen.

Late Night's Seth Meyers thought Trump's "singsong ramble" was more "like a 5-year-old telling you what he saw at the zoo," but he agreed that Trump saying he "didn't need to do this" declaration shows it's "the exact opposite of an emergency." That wasn't the only clue, as Trump flew straight from the Rose Garden to Mar-a-Lago for a weekend of golf and ... brunch? "There's no clearer sign that this is not a real emergency than the fact that he is at an omelette bar," Meyers said. Watch below. Peter Weber

February 15, 2019

Instead of $5.7 billion for a concrete border wall, President Trump is getting $1.375 billion for non-wall fencing in a spending bill Congress sent him Thursday evening. "The border wall: It's now official — neither Mexico nor Congress will pay for it," Trevor Noah said on Thursday's Daily Show. "So, like many of you after Valentine's Day, Trump is turning to Plan B. ... That's right, people. President Trump is finally declaring a national emergency at the border. Which is weird, because normally in an emergency, you don't spend months debating whether or not something is an emergency. Like, it's normally pretty clear."

"Now a lot of people are saying that this could backfire on Republicans," Noah said. "Because it sets a precedent: The next president can come in and declare a national emergency on anything: Climate change or gun violence — and that's if it's a Democrat. I mean, what if Mike Pence becomes president?" And yes, he had a hypothetical scenario for that, too.

Less than $1.4 billion for border fencing is "a serious walk-back" for Trump, Stephen Colbert said at The Late Show, also using a Valentine's Day analogy: "Honey, I know you wanted a diamond engagement ring, but what about this candy necklace that says 'Hot and Horny'?"

Trump will still sign the bill, Colbert said, but declaring a national emergency, "of course, would be insane. It would be usurping Congress' power, there would be immediate court challenges, many in his own party say it would set a terrible precedent of unconstitutional overreach by the executive branch." And Republicans aren't the only ones who object, he said. "Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was none too pleased, and she had a warning for the future," about what "a president with different values" could do with these powers — "or a president with any values," Colbert said wistfully. "I think about that all the time." Watch below. Peter Weber

February 14, 2019

On Tuesday, a federal jury in Brooklyn found Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman guilty on 10 counts of narcotics trafficking and other crimes. "Federal prosecutors are seeking $14 billion in forfeitures, and now Ted Cruz is demanding that El Chapo pay for [President] Trump's border wall," Stephen Colbert laughed on Wednesday's Late Show, after briefly recapping the trial. "That's really got to sting for El Chapo, because that's money he was going to use for more yachts, speedboats, airplanes, cargo trains, and submarines to send drugs over, under, and around that stupid border wall."

Well, Congress isn't going to give Trump the money, Jimmy Kimmel said on Kimmel Live. "This deal he's signing is a slightly less favorable version of the budge he could have signed in December, but even though he clearly isn't getting the wall he wants, he continues to inform us that his wall is 'very, very on its way,'" he said — and also, apparently, harder to climb than Mt. Everest. "He's just hallucinating now, right?" Kimmel asked. "I think I know what happened there. Who was the first person to climb Mt. Everest? Do you know? Sir Edmund Hillary, that's right. Trump probably overheard someone say 'Hillary climbed Mt. Everest,' and he was like, 'Well, my wall's gonna be better than ever, so then she'll never climb that.'" Watch below. Peter Weber

February 14, 2019

Lawmakers reached a bipartisan deal to keep the government open but, ironically, "if there's one thing we've learned about Donald Trump in the two years he's been president, it's that you can't negotiate with him," Seth Meyers said on Wednesday's Late Night. President Trump "made a big show of championing the bipartisan talks after he caved in the shutdown fight," but after the deal's framework was nailed down Monday night, Trump pleaded ignorance. "He literally said I had a choice between running the government and going on Fox News, and I chose Fox News," Meyers said, paraphrasing. "No quote has ever summed up Trump's presidency better than that."

All this "might explain why, when he found out that the deal didn't have any money for a concrete border wall yesterday, he said he wasn't happy with it" — although he's typically fuzzy on the details, Meyers said. "Trump talks about the wall like he just ran into one."

On The Late Show, Stephen Colbert was a little fed up with the melodrama. "The one thing everybody's talking about — Trump signing or not signing the border wall deal — doesn't mean anything," he said. "We're supposed to care whether Trump won and Nancy lost, or Trump caved and Nancy's dancing in the end zone. But nothing — nothing — that has happened in government in 2019 has affected anyone."

"We are celebrating — or supposed to be celebrating — that they're close to a deal to achieve the absolute minimum: having a government," Colbert said. "That is like celebrating that your child finally used the potty — on his first day of medical school. It's not impressive anymore." Everyone knows Trump will sign the bill, and "just like they all rehearsed, both sides are claiming victory," he said. Still, "even if Trump gets his funding, there's an unlikely obstacle on the border to his border obstacle, and it's butterflies — or as Mike Pence calls them, gay moths." Watch below. Peter Weber

February 13, 2019

President Trump rallied in El Paso on Monday night, and he had some thoughts about dogs — their usefulness, why he won't get one, how he'd look walking one. "Well if this is the way you walk a dog, you would look ridiculous, but don't blame that on the dog," Stephen Colbert said on Tuesday's Late Show. "Someone from the crowd gave Trump the real reason he shouldn't get a dog," Bo and Sunny, he noted. "Trump hates [Barack] Obama so much he'll do anything that is the opposite of what Obama did. Oooh, Mr. President, please remember: Barack Obama was re-elected."

Trump also "stole Hillary Clinton's campaign slogan," Stronger Together, Colbert said. "That's really bold. I mean at this point, it's only a matter of time before he steals her look."

Trump's El Paso rally also featured "an exciting new slogan," Jimmy Kimmel said on Kimmel Live. "'Finish the Wall.' Now he wants Finland to pay for the wall!" He took credit for suggesting "we just let him tell people the wall's being built, because it's not like they're gonna drive over from Alabama to check on the progress, but I was joking." Kimmel played some clips of Donald Trump Jr. warming up the crowd, only he gave him a kid's voice. "This DJTJ is trying so hard to be like his father, I guess it would be cute if it wasn't so pathetic," he said. And he slowed down Trump's comments about drug-sniffing dogs, making him sound drunk.

"Before the president spoke, his son Don Jr. came out to talk to the crowd, and some people said he sounded like he was drunk," Jimmy Fallon said at The Tonight Show, playing that clip. And Trump's comments "about drug-sniffing dogs and why he doesn't have a dog" really "sounded kind of crazy, but maybe it's just because Trump's the one who said it," Fallon said. He had an audience volunteer read Trump's words verbatim, and you can judge for yourself below. Peter Weber

February 13, 2019

On Monday night, President Trump traveled to El Paso for his first big political rally of the year, and on Tuesday night, The Late Show pulled a Weird Al to poke fun at Trump's speech.

Trump's rally had competition, but "I'll be honest: There wasn't much comedy out of the Beto O'Rourke rally," Trevor Noah said on Tuesday's Daily Show. "It made sense, he doesn't mispronounce words," and Beto's only missteps were vilifying all walls and standing next to conga drums. Trump, though, was on fire — or at least his pants were.

"So now we're doing 'Finish the Wall'?" Noah asked. "To be fair to Trump, even though zero new miles of wall have been built under Trump," he has "upgraded some of the existing fencing into taller fencing. Yeah, so he's solved the problem of smugglers who are determined to sneak drugs into America but are too lazy to buy a somewhat taller ladder." Trump also "managed to turn white people against dogs," Noah marveled, "the thing white people love more than anything," and showed off his math skills. "Yep, that's right, Trump is 1-for-1 and if he wins again, he's gonna be 2-for-0. That's not how math works. But at least now we know how Trump successfully negotiated -$200 million for his wall."

Yes, a tentative bipartisan border deal "gives Trump less than $1.4 billion for just 55 miles of fences," Stephen Colbert said at The Late Show, not the $1.6 billion he was offered before the shutdown or the $5.7 billion he's demanding. "He didn't get what he wanted, and his TV friends noticed and they're being mean about it," he added. "And this afternoon, Trump agreed with those people who tell him what he agrees with." Still, Trump thinks he can build more wall by seizing disaster relief money set aside for California and Puerto Rico, Colbert noted. "So Trump's plan to divert funds from actual disasters in order to prevent a fictional one?" He compared that to Die Hard. Watch below. Peter Weber

February 1, 2019

"The nation's gripped with cold right now, but despite that, you know who's all hot and bothered? Donald Trump," Stephen Colbert said on Thursday's Late Show. "The president's intelligence chiefs publicly contradicted him Tuesday," so at the White House on Thursday, Trump first told reporters that he would probably be proved right, Colbert said, then "later this afternoon, Trump explained that what the intelligence chiefs said to Congress wasn't actually what they said to Congress."

"What do you mean they were 'misquoted'?" Colbert asked Trump, rhetorically. "There were cameras. It was live. We all watched it." He helpfully juxtaposed the intelligence chiefs' comments with Trump's assertions, for context. "Now, after reviewing all that, some would say that Donald Trump is denying reality at a level that is clinically insane," Colbert said. "Others would say that, too."

Trump also talked about his wall, confusingly. "So, he's going to shut down the government unless he gets the wall we already have," Colbert paraphrased. He found more to like in Trump's tweet about calling the wall the wall: "Yes, thank you, let's stop playing these political games. Who was that jerk who kept insisting on not calling the wall the wall?" You probably know the answer, but Trump suggesting we call the wall a peach was too much for Colbert — until he envisioned it as Trump's new slogan: "We're going to build a giant peach, and James is going to pay for it. Build the peach! Build the peach!"

At The Daily Show, Trevor Noah agreed about mocking Trump's attacks on other politicians for not saying "wall," but he drew the line at "peaches." "If the wall is called 'peaches,' then I think we should build a wall," he joked. "Because Peaches the Border Wall is the most adorable thing I have ever heard. ... Like, I bet if you call the border wall Peaches, even drug smugglers wouldn't want to breach that wall." Watch that imagined conversation below. Peter Weber

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