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Late-night reacts to Donald Trump still being a racist, only moreso

Seth Meyers
Screenshot: Late Night With Seth Meyers

With most of the late-night talk show hosts having taken last holiday week off, viewers were left to process the daily news sans the pressure and stomach-acid relieving catharsis of snarkily on-point monologues. (Catching up, Late Show host Stephen Colbert admonished his audience, “If you follow the news, and I suggest you don’t . . .”) But, one might ask, what could possibly rise above the relentlessly grim and/or outrageous sewage-tide ceaselessly erupting from the White House that would cause an inveterate satirist to question the wisdom of paying attention to what spills from Donald Trump’s mouth-hole? After all, it’s not like Trump, using the language and catchphrases of a drunken old coot ejected from public transportation, told four elected women of color to “go back where they came from” or anything, right?

Oh, right, Donald Trump did exactly that on Sunday, calling out progressive Democratic Congresswomen Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) for daring to criticize him (a white male, remember), and questioning both their patriotism and legitimacy as Americans. So what do you do with that if you’re a late-night comic?

Well, Colbert continued toying with joke structure, telling his audience, “Now, if that strikes you as a little racist, you do not know the meaning of the word ‘little.’ Apart from that irresistible wordplay, however, Colbert was unsparing, mocking Trump’s attacks on the four congresswomen (known colloquially as “The Squad”) as springing from his competing leadership of “The Klan.” He also delved into the rhetorical dead end of even debating the issue, saying of Trump’s facile bigotry, “It is insulting to these women to even have to defend them from these ridiculous racist accusations,” and lamenting, “Even touching on Trump’s obvious racism gets it on you.” (That, and bronzer.) He also mocked Trump for unintentionally unifying the fractious Democrats around the universally agreed-upon fact that he completely sucks, comparing Trump’s slimy attack to a Watchmen-esque (the book, not the movie) alien invasion scenario making all the warring peoples of the Earth realize that there’s a bigger, more-tentacled, and extinction-level threat to worry about. (Excepting Trump supporters, who Colbert suggested would happily concede that humans are indeed “food animals” as long as they got a cool red hat out of the deal.)

Seth Meyers took to his “A Closer Look” segment for an extended dissection of said bigot-creature, calling out those in the media unwilling to call Trump’s racism racism. Mocking the New York Times’ use of the watery euphemism “racially tinged” to describe the hacky “go back to Africa” slur of President Sir-This-Is-An-Arby’s, Meyers was also unsparing in calling out Trump’s “stunning racist,” “appallingly racist” tweets. Calling Trump “a racist gargoyle who sits around tweeting from the back nine of his chintzy golf course,” Meyers wasn’t playing, playing past clips of Trump questioning whether a judge of Mexican descent can do his job, and pointing out things like Trump’s birtherism and that whole “Mexicans are rapists” thing before asking “What more do you need to impeach this guy?”

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The late-night Jimmys both took passing swipes at the President of the United States employing the racist “love it or leave it” rhetoric of that uncle who doesn’t get invited to reunions anymore. Kimmel, mocking former Trump critic and current slavering Trump apologist Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) as being “the closest Trump will ever have to having a dog,” while even noted Trump hair-ruffler Fallon straight-out called Trump a racist before moving on with the sweaty admission that he was getting “too real” for his Tonight Show crowd.

Meanwhile, Trevor Noah instead spent the top of The Daily Show running down how Trump is tight with an infamous pedophile-pimp who catered to the predatory sexual desires of his rich and powerful friends. Proving that, in Donald Trump’s America, sometimes “suspected pedophile” just crowds “unequivocal racist” right out of the late-night lineup.

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Dennis Perkins

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