Stephen Colbert on Trump’s ‘race between autocracy and incompetence’ | Late-night TV roundup


Stephen Colbert

On Wednesday’s Late Show, Stephen Colbert led with the bad news first: “The president is actively working to undermine our democracy, usurp the will of the people and hold on to power in violation of our Constitution.” The good news? “He’s really bad at it.

“The president is desperate to somehow throw out the votes for Biden,” the host continued, “but like everything else in his administration, it’s a race between autocracy and incompetence, and with this crowd, incompetence is Usain Bolt.”

Colbert checked in on the Republicans’ latest “coup-nanigans”: on Tuesday, the two Republican members of the canvassing board for Michigan’s Wayne county, which contains Detroit, refused to certify election results, citing minor discrepancies in votes cast versus number of people who attended polls. (The other two members of the board are Democrats, to make it non-partisan.) “This is something that happens everywhere, so it is outrageous that the Republican chair said she would be ‘open to certifying the vote in communities other than Detroit’,” Colbert explained.

“Whatever the reason – racism was the reason — the president’s team was thrilled,” he added, although residents of Wayne county were decidedly not pleased. Turns out, voters “aren’t that keen on having their votes thrown out,” Colbert recapped, and many swarmed the Zoom call for a virtual board meeting. “You know something is terribly wrong when people voluntarily join a Zoom call.”

After numerous angry comments from residents, the two Republicans reversed course and certified the results. “So that’s it? That’s all it took?” Colbert marveled. “It’s that easy to stop your devious plan? For Pete’s sake, if all fascists were that weak, we could’ve avoided World War II with one propaganda poster.”

Samantha Bee

On Full Frontal, Samantha Bee prepped her audience for a muted, risk-managed “Covid Thanksgiving”, with the promise of a competent, proactive Biden-Harris administration on the horizon. “Thankfully, the Biden-Harris approach to stopping Covid will be different” than Trump’s, Bee said, “mostly in that they’re actually trying to stop it.”

The Biden administration has already announced a coronavirus taskforce staffed by medical and public health experts, and plans to expand testing, employ 100,000 new contact tracers, launch a national “pandemic dashboard” to display transmission rates across the country – all of which “means that as a nation, we may be rounding the corner on one of the most painful eras in recent history,” Bee said. “Painful for the obvious reasons, and because of how many TV shows are writing it into their plots.”

“This has been a hard fucking year,” she concluded. “And it’s understandable that you might want to be with your family right now. But it’s crucial to consider and manage your risk. And if you don’t see your family next week, don’t feel guilty about that – it may be one of the most loving things you can do for them. Plus, this is the only year you can skip it without being an asshole, and that’s one reason to be truly thankful.”

Trevor Noah

“Whatever he thinks on Twitter, I think Donald Trump understands that in real life, he’s not going to be president after 20 January,” said Trevor Noah on The Daily Show, because “ever since election day, he and his administration have been working overtime to rush through policies and regulatory changes as fast as they can.”

Noah examined some of those changes, including the removal of troops from Iraq and the suggestion of military intervention in Iran. “There’s no way that Trump knows the difference between Iraq and Iran,” said Noah, “and secondly, he’s only got two months left in office, so if he goes to war with Iran, he’s going to have to speed run it.

“Even if you think it’s a good idea to end wars, it’s very stressful when it’s Donald Trump and he’s on a two-month timeline,” Noah added. “I mean, Donald Trump’s whole career has been a failed game of Monopoly, so I don’t feel great about him playing a speed version of Risk.”

And in Alaska, the home of the largest area of untouched wilderness in the US, Trump has moved to auction off drilling rights to the Arctic national wildlife refuge. “At this point, Trump is just stripping America for parts,” Noah explained. “He’s just there in his yard being like, ‘throw in another $50 and I’ll give you the constitution. Between you and me, it barely works any more.’”

Jimmy Kimmel

It’s “day 15 of Squattergate,” said Jimmy Kimmel of the president. “Big Baby Bone Spurs is digging in like a tick in your stomach, while his team is “so desperate to come up with anything that could potentially save this stinking ship, including all sorts of major breaking scoops.”

Kimmel pointed to an appearance by the White House press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show, in which she flipped through a stack of papers – affidavits, she said, contents unclear – and beseeched viewers about how they “aren’t blank”.

“That’s their best defense now: ‘The papers are not blank,’” Kimmel mocked. “The thinktank in Trumpland is empty. Everything is bogus – voting results, crowd size, witch-hunts, perfect calls, Dr Fauci, Rex Tillerson, John Kelly, John Bolton, Michael Bolton, Michael Cohen, windmills, caravans, they’re all against him.

“The deep state, Hillary’s emails, Pizzagate – every week there’s a new plot against Donald Trump,” he added. “How much gas is left in this light already? Sixty-three days, folks. Sixty-three more days.”



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