Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Jake Tapper tells Seth Meyers he's shocked Bill Clinton isn't better prepared, is less shocked about Trump

Jake Tapper, Seth Meyers
Screenshot: Late Night With Seth Meyers

Whenever comic news junkie Seth Meyers pulls in a real newsperson to appear on Late Night, the war is always between talking shop and just swapping bewildered Trump putdowns. Meyers is therefore always happy to welcome CNN Chief Washington Correspondent Jake Tapper. Especially as Tapper, pulling the Sunday morning shift with his State Of The Union, is always in practice attempting to keep a straight face at what he and Meyers termed “the birth of the spin,” facing off against whatever White House operative gets tapped to try and mold something like rational government policy out of whatever Donald Trump rage tweeted during his weekend constitutionals. (This Sunday, it was Trump’s notoriously questionable economic adviser Lawrence Kudlow who attempted to pin the blame for Trump’s latest failed attempt to act like a grownup president at the G7 summit, a rush job of partisan truth-twisting that Tapper says was even more frenzied than usual.)

In their wide-ranging “can you believe this shit?” roundup of the week’s news, Tapper and Meyers commiserated over the shared terror of Donald Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un kicking off their Singapore summit with a one-on-one (on translators) secret meeting. Especially, since, as first-time novelist Tapper put it, that’s a room with “four unreliable narrators.” Tapper also brought up the worrisome/pants-wetting fact that noted not-expert Trump is heading into the negotiations with the tyrannical leader of an unstable nuclear power bragging about how little preparation he’s done. “I assume people have tried to explain,” deadpanned Tapper, referring to Trump’s national security advisers. On the subject of preparation, Tapper also told Meyers bluntly that he was “stunned” at former president and legendarily media-savvy figure Bill Clinton’s ongoing trainwreck of a book tour. (Clinton, like Tapper, is making the talk show rounds to publicize his recent political thriller.) “If you wanted to write the worst answer he could give,” assessed Tapper of Clinton’s relentlessly tone-deaf responses to reporters inevitable Monica Lewinsky questions, especially in light of how completely the Me Too movement has changed the national discussion about sexual impropriety. (“Who was the Tonys host a year ago?,” asked Tapper, eliciting a collective “whoa” from Meyers audience when he reminded everyone it was—Kevin Spacey.)

Concluding their talk, Meyers segued to a question about Tapper’s CNN colleague and vocal Me Too ally Anthony Bourdain, whose suicide last week was a sobering shock to most. Tapper noted that he and Bourdain had grown closer over their discussion of Me Too, especially when it came to disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. (Who, among other alleged horrible things, is accused of sexually assaulting actress Asia Argento, with whom Bourdain was in a relationship at the time of his death.) Calling Bourdain someone whose “passion and righteous indignation against injustice” he greatly admired, Tapper told Meyers, “the world is much poorer for him having left.”


Share This Story

About the author

Dennis Perkins

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Danny Peary's Cult Movies books are mostly to blame.