×
FOLLOW THE WEEK ON FACEBOOK
January 11, 2018

On Tuesday, President Trump fulfilled his promise to get Democrats and Republicans in the same room to discuss immigration, and he invited in news cameras, "which was mind-blowing, because finally we'd get to see the president take charge," Trevor Noah said on Wednesday's Daily Show. Or not. Trump essentially told the lawmakers present he would sign whatever they sent him, and he seemed to be fuzzy on the details of the main point of negotiation, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals immigration program.

"While both sides want DACA, there's a 'clean' DACA and then there's DACA with everything else," like Trump's border wall, Noah said, "and if you were running a high-level negotiation about DACA, this would be a key concept to understand. But if I told you there was one person in the room who didn't quite understand, I'll bet you can guess who it was." He showed Trump agreeing to a "clean" DACA bill, and Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) jumping in to correct him. Trump said he wants a big bipartisan "bill of love," and Noah drew a line.

"It's funny to hear Trump talking about love and immigration, especially after you hear the cruel decision that he made on Monday," rescinding the immigration status of some 200,000 Salvadorans. "While President 'Bill of Love' puts on a show for the cameras, behind the scenes his administration is kicking out 200,000 people who have lived in the U.S. legally for decades," Noah said. "These are families, Mr. President, human beings — you can't just treat them the same way you treat Eric." Watch below. Peter Weber

January 10, 2018

"I don't know if you've noticed, but in between his tweetings and cheeseburgers, Donald Trump has been saying some pretty dictator-y things," Trevor Noah said on Tuesday's Daily Show. He pointed to President Trump's statement that he has "the absolute right to do what I want with the Justice Department," and explained why that's both not true and "a dangerous idea for the president to have."

Trump is widely reported to be furious with Attorney General Jeff Sessions for not "protecting" him from the investigation into Russian election meddling. And points to the underlying problem," Noah said. "In President Trump's mind, the attorney general is his personal attorney — that's what he thinks. Instead of recusing himself from Russia, he wanted Jeff Sessions to basically be his pint-sized Johnny Cochran, just walking around, like: 'He's a good dude, he did not collude. If the sheets have no pee, the man must go free.'"

Trump was so upset that Sessions wasn't "protecting" him, he reportedly asked his staff, "Where's my Roy Cohn?" That's "actually a very revealing question for Trump to have asked," Noah said, turning to clips to explain who Roy Cohn was. "Trump longing for a lawyer like Roy Cohn is disconcerting, because what he admires in Cohn is that he worked to destroy his political rivals by any means necessary. And that's exactly what Trump wants the Justice Department to do for him now — and it looks like he may be getting his wish." He pointed to Trump's call for the Justice Department to reopen its investigation of Hillary Clinton's emails, and the DOJ's compliance. "That should make you a little bit afraid," Noah said. "If the president can start criminal investigations into anyone that he wants, that feels less like a democracy and more like a Trumpocracy." Watch below. Peter Weber

January 9, 2018

"If someone wrote a book about you not being mentally fit, and you knew it was all lies, a smart person would ignore the bulls--t and carry on with his life," Trevor Noah said on Monday's Daily Show. "But Donald Trump is not that person." President Trump lashed out at Michael Wolff and his new book, Fire and Fury, saying in a weekend tweetstorm that he's "like, really smart," and also a "stable genius." "This is, like, really funny," Noah said. "Only Donald Trump could defend himself and in the same sentence, completely undermine his whole point."

Noah spent the next few minutes ruminating on "stable genius — which I guess is Einstein if he owned a comb?" On the one hand, calling yourself a stable genius on Twitter is a "delusionally confident" move, Noah said, playing examples of other self-declared geniuses. But actually, "I guess Trump is stable. I mean, look at his life: Twitter, golf, bedtime, cheeseburger, fall asleep, do it again. He's the only thing that hasn't changed since he became president. If anything, Trump is stable and he's made everyone else unstable."

"Trump was always going to come out and tell us that he has a very good brain," Noah said. "What was fun was watching the grown-ups around him pretend that they don't see what's blatantly obvious." The Trump allies and appointees who went on TV to defend Trump "aren't just saying that Donald Trump is of sound mind, they're basically saying that all of us are mentally unstable for questioning him," Noah said, even as some of these same Republicans called him crazy. "Look, I guess what the Republicans are saying is this: Yes, Donald Trump was a deranged lunatic unfit to be president, but once he won the Electoral College, then he became a stable genius. Because everyone knows, nothing turns a man sane like absolute power." Watch below. Peter Weber

January 5, 2018

It seems all anybody can talk about right now is Fire and Fury, Michael Wolff's new book about President Trump and his White House, which "sounds like the Real Housewives of Pennsylvania Avenue," Trevor Noah said on Thursday's Daily Show. According to Wolff, "Trump's own people think that he's dumb as a watermelon — I guess the country isn't as divided as it seems," Noah said. Trump not being "the fastest fidget spinner out there" isn't exactly news," he added, but it "has been fun is discovering little details that help us understand President Trump a little bit more," like his quirky fast-food habits.

"Now, this book has tons of stories ranging from mildly amusing to salacious," Noah said, but "the most tragic story" is that nobody on Trump's team, Trump included, wanted him to win. There's an upside to that for Trump, he pointed out. "If you believe that he didn't want to win, then it's hard to believe he colluded with the Russians. If anything, instead of trying to shut this book down, Trump should be sending a copy to Robert Mueller."

But the allegations about Trump's mental decline and crooked family aren't great for Trump. "As entertaining as it is, I don't know how much of this book is accurate and how much is exaggerated — but in a way, that's what makes it a perfect scandal for this White House," Noah said. "Bizarre, unverified, fraudulent claims: This is the world Donald Trump promotes," from his "birther" nonsense to claims of millions of illegal voters to his jab that Ted Cruz's dad helped murder JFK. "Someone who tweeted 'check out sex tape' can't complain about tabloid gossip," Noah said. "The truth is, Mr. President, you made your bed, now eat your cheeseburger in it." Watch below. Peter Weber

January 4, 2018

Two of the big lingering questions from 2017 are whether President Trump colluded with Russia and why the FBI started investigating that question, Trevor Noah said on Wednesday's Daily Show. Special Counsel Robert Mueller is looking into the first one, and The New York Times provided an answer to the second last week: "Alcohol" — specifically, drunken gossip from Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos. "Man, Donald Trump's people are such amateurs," Noah said. "Everyone knows the first rule of keeping a secret is you don't drink with Australians. Like, their smallest beer can size is 'bucket.'"

On Wednesday afternoon, Stephen Bannon had an unexpected answer for the first question. "This is huge," Noah said. "Steve Bannon, Trump's dude, not only accused Trump's second-dumbest son of collusion, but he's also accusing the president of being in on it and then lying to the American people about it." Trump did not react calmly. "I didn't even know presidents could release dis tracks," Noah said. "But I do feel bad for President Trump because today he found out that some Nazis aren't very fine people."

"But you know, as much as I enjoy watching this fight, I realize I don't know who I'm rooting for," Noah said. "Steve Bannon beefing with Donald Trump? It's like Alien vs. Sexual Predator — who do you go with?" This feud may end up being "just the latest episode of our favorite gringo telenovela," he said, but it's also "the first time a member of Trump's inner circle is saying that this Trump-Russia collusion story is as bad as it seems."

At The Opposition, Jordan Klepper was in mourning because "mommy and daddy are fighting." This Trump-Bannon split needs to be healed, he deadpanned. "I don't want to split my time wearing my MAGA hat on weekdays and two collared shirts every other weekend." Watch below. Peter Weber

January 3, 2018

Tens of thousands of Iranians have taken to the streets since Thursday to protest economic conditions and corruption, and the problem isn't Iran's "enemies," as Ayatollah Ali Khamenei would have you believe, Trevor Noah said on Tuesday's Daily Show.

"These are the largest anti-government protests in Iran since 2009, and in case you're wondering what drove these people into the streets, it wasn't that George Soros was paying them," Noah said. "It was that after the U.S. lifted sanctions on Iran in 2015, the Iranian government promised a big economic boom for everyone, but while the rich in Iran are getting richer, ordinary Iranians aren't noticing the benefits. And I know this third-world stuff is hard for some Americans to relate to, but just imagine if the U.S. government promised tax cuts for the middle class but then only the rich benefited — I know, I know, that s--t would never happen."

Iran explained, Noah turned to North Korea and Kim Jong Un's combined threat of nuclear retaliation and RSVP to the Winter Olympics in South Korea next month. The Daily Show taped before Trump tweeted his own nuclear provocation back at Kim, but Noah noted that Trump's initial reaction to Kim's nuclear-button comment was pretty typical: "Have you ever noticed that when Trump has no idea about something, he just says any crazy thing that pops into his head and then he adds, 'I don't know'?"

Trump's bluster aside, "this is a big deal — North and South Korea now want to come to the table for talks that won't include the United States," Noah said. "And that's the power of Donald Trump: No matter how far apart two adversaries are, they can always look at each other and say, 'We'd better sort this s--t out before that guy gets involved.'" Watch below. Peter Weber

December 22, 2017

Bitcoin's heady rise into the financial ether hit some turbulence this week, as the world's largest cryptocurrency dropped 30 percent in five days, from nearly $20,000 a coin to about $13,000 on Friday. If the mention of blockchains and cryptocurrencies makes your eyes glaze over, The Daily Show's Ronny Chieng might have the explainer for you, starting with the big question: "Is this some fake s--t that some f---ing nerds made up on the internet to steal our money, or is it the future of finance?" The answer might be: both.

Chieng interviewed the co-founders of two cryptocurrencies, Ethereum — No. 2, behind bitcoin — and Dogecoin, a "stupid meme currency" that is nevertheless "worth almost $400 million," he noted. But first he took a bubble bath. "Does cryptocurrency make you feel angry and confused? Well it should," Chieng said, necking champagne in a bathtub overlooking Manhattan, like in The Big Short. Cryptocurrencies, he explained, are a way to conduct financial transactions online without a middleman like PayPal taking a cut, and minimizing the risk of theft by recording each transaction in a public ledger called a blockchain.

But in the end, a cryptocurrency like Ethereum is "based on faith" in its blockchain, Ethereum's Joe Lubin explained. "When you get enough people believing in cryptocurrency, then you can snowball into something that a society actually deems valuable, like the U.S. dollar." Chieng decided that if money isn't real, he might as well make his own cryptocurrency, ChiengCoin. That took all of 10 minutes, but he highlighted the faith problem when he tried to use it. Watch and (maybe) learn below. Peter Weber

Peter Weber

December 21, 2017

Right-wing survivalists have been preparing for a chaotic end to the United States for decades now, but President Trump's election has helped give rise to the liberal doomsday "prepper" — or something like that, The Daily Show reports. Correspondent Desi Lydic visited a more traditional conservative survivalist and a novice liberal one who appears to live in New York City, comparing and mostly contrasting their levels and styles of preparedness for the end of the world. By the end, you get to decide: Is it better to live on ramen or die with champagne, like Ben Affleck? Or something like that. Watch below. Peter Weber

See More Speed Reads