The Daily Showdown
June 12, 2019

Last week, a Russian destroyer nearly rammed into a U.S. warship on the high seas. Where would Russia get the nerve "to play chicken against America in the Pacific?" Trevor Noah asked on Tuesday's Daily Show. "Well, maybe it's because they have a new and powerful BFF." While President Trump was meeting with allies in Europe, Russian President Vladimir Putin was hosting Chinese President Xi Jinping, and they got really friendly.

"That's right, Xi and Putin have gotten so close they're even taking boat rides together," Noah said. "And not just a normal boat ride — Putin even helped Xi re-create that scene from Titanic. It was like, 'Yeah, I'm king of the woooorld! No, really, China's taking over the woooorld!'" And Xi, significantly, gave Putin two pandas. "The point is, China and Russia are getting super close, and the consequences for America go beyond boat rides and cute bears," Noah said. China and Russia are "teaming up against the United States. I mean, America could probably handle China or Russia, but not both at the same time. Imagine if in Rocky IV, Ivan Drago was fighting and then Jackie Chan jumped in the ring to help. That would be the end of Rocky."

"Beyond geopolitics, the personal element of this bromance is probably something that's gonna bug Donald Trump," Noah said. "Because don't forget, he wants to be a part of this club — he loves those dudes. ... So to see his two besties make plans without him, that's gotta hurt. And I don't think he's dealing with his feelings in the most mature way." The clip he showed did look pretty bad, in context. "Wow, really Trump? He's going to put tariffs on China if Xi doesn't hang out with him? That is so childish," Noah said. "Xi Jinping won't have a play date? Tariffs!" He ended with some dubious relationship advice for Trump. Watch below. Peter Weber

June 7, 2019

You may think of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) "as part of the coastal elites," Trevor Noah said on Thursday's Daily Show, "but you may be surprised to find out she came from very humble roots" in Oklahoma. In fact, there's a lot you may not know about Warren, like that she taught special-needs kids before becoming a law professor, and she proposed to her husband back in the 1970s.

"And Elizabeth Warren wasn't just asking guys with great legs to marry her," Noah said. "While she taught at Harvard, she became one of the country's top experts on bankruptcy — and not in the Donald Trump kind of way. No, she knew the law so well that she would often be called to testify in front of Congress. And one of those hearings, from nearly 15 years ago, is pretty wild to watch now." This one pitted her against Joe Biden.

"That's one of the reasons people like Elizabeth Warren so much, because she's been fighting against the predatory practices of banks and credit card companies, and this was long before it was cool," Noah said. Warren was such a force on the issue that when her idea for a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau became reality, President Barack Obama wanted her to lead it — and Senate Republicans blocked her. So she ran for Senate, won, and "her popularity just kept on rising," Noah said.

"Now she's making waves in the 2020 race, and incredibly, she's managed to stand out in this crowded field thanks to her unique strategy of having a plan," Noah said, or rather, lots of plans. "So that's Elizabeth Warren: Third place in the race, lots of detailed ideas, and a long history to back them up. And look, we still have a long way to go until the primaries, but for right now it seems like, much like her husband, this campaign has legs." Watch below. Peter Weber

June 5, 2019

"It's safe to say that socialism is having a moment in American politics right now," Trevor Noah said on Tuesday's Daily Show. "And that's freaking a lot of people out." To figure out why, The Daily Show sent senior youth correspondent Jaboukie Young-White out into Manhattan and Washington, D.C., to first ask millennials about their thoughts on socialism and then chat with some people who have stronger opinions on the topic.

"Seriously, you can't talk socialism in America without going to the OG, Sen. Bernie Sanders," Young-White said, after cracking a joke about Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. He asked Sanders to define socialism and explain its appeal to the youths. "Could he be the oldest millennial in America?" he asked. Sanders said young people see the appeal in egalitarianism, thanks to the economic headwinds they are facing as a generation, and he held up Denmark and Sweden as examples to emulate.

Young-White then interviewed socialism critic Karol Markowitz, a columnist for the New York Post. She cited Soviet gulags. He went back to Sanders, who responded that the Soviet Union "was an authoritarian society with no democratic rights," and "democratic socialists stood up and fought against that." He isn't trying to imitate the Soviets or Venezuela, he added, but he did make a gulag joke.

"Fact check: The examples of failed socialism that critics use are not socialist democracies but authoritarian states led by corrupt, ruthless, and paranoid dictators," Young-White said. "But I do have one real problem with socialism: I like money." So he asked Sanders, "Is socialism still for me if I'm a millennial millionaire?" You can watch the response below. Peter Weber

May 30, 2019

Back in 2016, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell "blocked President Obama from appointing Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court, because 'a president shouldn't get to fill a Supreme Court seat in an election year,'" Trevor Noah reminded viewers on Wednesday's Daily Show. "But now that Donald Trump is president, McConnell says 'Playas gotta play,'" he paraphrased, showing the video of McConnell changing his tune at a luncheon in Kentucky on Tuesday.

"Say what you want about Mitch McConnell, but he is truly the perfect movie villain," Noah said. "And not just because he looks like Jabba the Hut got a gastric bypass. No, it's because look at how he did it: He took a sip of his drink and then he just revealed his evil plan, then he gave a creepy-ass smile. Classic movie villain. I'm surprised he didn't end the press conference by turning into a cloud of bats." McConnell, it should be noted, is embracing his dark side and reveling in his growing reputation for villainy.

Still, the analogy isn't perfect, Noah conceded. "When a villain does this in a movie, we're always like: 'You idiot — why would you reveal your plan? Now the good guys can stop you!' But in real life we're like: 'Aha! Now we can stop him — we just need 50 votes in the Senate to ... wait, who's got the votes?' ... And the worst part is, Mitch McConnell lives so deep in Senate procedure that it's not easy to explain to people why his plan is so evil." Watch him briefly try to explain before moving on to abortion, Netflix, The Bachelorette, and the Midwest's stormy weather. Peter Weber

May 30, 2019

"Since the Mueller report was released six weeks ago, everyone has shared their opinion on what they think it means," Trevor Noah said on Wednesday's Daily Show. "According to President Trump, it's 'total exoneration,'" and many Democrats see it as "the road to impeachment." But we heard nothing from Robert Mueller himself — until Wednesday. Then, after an hour of wild cable news speculation, Mueller spoke, live, on television, for about 10 minutes.

Mueller's warning about Russian election interference was clear enough. "He says every American needs to pay attention to Russian meddling, but he's really talking to one particular American," Noah said. "Let's face it, Trump is the only one that matters. I don't think Mueller is going on TV because he's worried Phil from Quiznos isn't taking America's elections seriously enough."

Still, "no one tuned in to hear Mueller talk about the Russians," Noah said. "People tuned in to hear if Robert Mueller thinks that the president obstructed justice or not," and that's where Mueller got cryptic. "Wait, what? 'If Trump didn't commit a crime, we would have said so'?" he repeated. "So Trump did commit a crime? Or did he just not not commit a crime? Like, Robert Mueller, why don't you just speak English? Even Yoda would be like, 'Mmm, report confusing you make.'"

"Look, the way Mueller phrased this information was confusing, but most people agree that the underlying message was clear," Noah said, comparing it to an evasive answer about herpes. "For now, Robert Mueller refuses to come out and just say that the president has obstruction herpes," and "even though Mueller dropped a major hint, many people weren't satisfied with how little he said today. But I'll be honest: I don't think anyone's going to shake this guy. And I know this, because I sent our correspondents to the press conference to try and find out more." Watch that montage below. Peter Weber

May 29, 2019

Last week, The Daily Show's Trevor Noah explained the benefits of 5G wireless networks, noted that China is way ahead of the U.S. in developing this lucrative and world-changing technology, laid out the stakes for the 5G race, and half-applauded President Trump's efforts to blacklist China's Huawei.

"If Huawei becomes the leading 5G provider in the world, then China can spy on everyone — which is terrible, because that's what America wants to do," Noah said. "Luckily — and I can't believe I'm saying this — America is lucky you have a maniac on your team who's willing to play dirty." Trump "could see America wasn't going to win," he added, "so he just got a crowbar and pulled a Tonya Harding on China's 5G."

For some reason, China liked the segment so much it aired part of it Monday on state TV, Noah said on Tuesday's show. He celebrated cracking the Chinese market ... until correspondent Roy Wood Jr. accused him of being a foreign propagandist and spy. Watch below. Peter Weber

May 22, 2019

The Democratic presidential field is split over whether to sit down for interviews on Fox News, a news network that has a decidedly anti-Democrat slant. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) are on the no side, Trevor Noah said on Tuesday's Daily Show, but Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) got a warm welcome and appeared to win people over in his town hall, and on Sunday night, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg slammed Fox News hosts Laura Ingraham and Tucker Carlson — and got a standing ovation from the Fox News audience.

"Pete Buttigieg went on Fox News, trashed their most popular anchors, and then got a standing ovation at the end — that is amazing," Noah said. "Because if someone came to your house and told you how ugly your kids were, you'd probably be like, 'Get the hell out of here!' You wouldn't be like: 'Someone had to say it. You've got a big-a-- head, Billy. ... Some reporters on Fox News actually credited Buttigieg for coming on to their network. But, the kids with the big-a-- heads? They weren't as happy."

"Laura Ingraham, Tucker Carlson, and Brian Kilmeade, they were all pretty pissed with Buttigieg's star turn on Fox," Noah said. "But there was one Fox viewer who was downright heartbroken." That would be President Trump, who complained about Buttigieg's town hall beforehand and slammed it at a rally on Monday night. "Aw, poor Trump," Noah said. "You realize what happened here: The news network that he loves the most flirted with a younger, hotter candidate, and he's clearly shook."

Noah didn't have a pat answer on whether Democrats should go on Fox New or stay away. "In many ways, it's just like eating an Oreo," he said. And that ended in a profane Ben Carson takedown. Watch below. Peter Weber

April 25, 2019

"People don't just love Joe Biden because he's a down-to-earth, everyday man — no, people love him because he's an adorable goofball," Trevor Noah said on Thursday's Daily Show, hours after Biden officially entered the 2020 presidential race. "In fact, the only thing that spends more time in Biden's mouth than those perfect teeth is his own foot." He played some ... highlights? Unlike former President Barack Obama's famously deliberate speaking style, Noah said, "when Biden talks, his brain just hits 'I'm feeling lucky,' and the first result comes out of his mouth."

Noah ran through some of Biden's "major accomplishments" in Washington, including that he "was so good at getting stuff done, he even found a way to work with Mitch McConnell. And they probably got along because Mitch was the only person Biden wouldn't give a massage to." At the same time, "anyone who's been around that long is also gonna have some baggage," he said. "And Biden? Oh man, he's got enough baggage to fill a whole Amtrak car." He ran through some of that, too.

"So on the downside, Joe Biden got a lot of things wrong back in the day," Noah said. "But on the upside, he managed to grow his hair back," and despite his past missteps, he's considered a serious contender in the Democratic race, partly because of "how progressive he has become and partly because of how good he is at getting under Trump's skin." Watch through to the end to see an enactment of Biden and President Trump throwing down on the debate stage. Peter Weber

See More Speed Reads