Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Stephen Colbert gets election facts from the guy Trump fired for telling facts about the election

Stephen Colbert, Christopher Krebs
Stephen Colbert, Christopher Krebs
Screenshot: The Late Show

Introducing his guest as “the latest person to be fired by the president via tweet,” Stephen Colbert welcomed yet another minor government figure whose name everyone unaccountably knows these days. (Seriously, name another time in history when you could say, “Fuck the Postmaster General” and have a random passer-by chime in with “Yeah, fuck that traitorous ratfucker, Louis DeJoy!”) This time out, The Late Show welcomed one Christopher Krebs, who everyone in the country now knows is the former Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. Or, if that’s too much of a mouthful, the guy Donald Trump shit-canned because he proclaimed the 2020 elections, “the most secure in American history.”

So, sounds like someone a sitting president would be grateful to, since Krebs—as someone in charge of ensuring all Americans’ votes are counted and that hostile foreign governments aren’t screwing with our vital election systems—actually did his job. Plus, as Krebs noted, he’s a lifelong member of Trump’s own Republican Party. Except, as Krebs told Colbert, he did his job by putting “country over party,” so, yeah, he was screwed, what with Trump and his army of foot-shooting attorneys who can’t file straight filing baseless, laughably incompetent suits in front of increasingly exasperated judges across the land (last count sees Team Trump at 1-42) trying to do the exact opposite of that. And if Krebs’ statement that he’s “not ashamed to admit” he’s been a Republican all his life raises certain other questions, the current bar for Republicans actually doing their jobs, accepting reality, and/or having the human spine necessary to actually speak out on behalf of democracy is so fucking low that this unassuming bureaucrat’s simple, informed, no-nonsense debunking of some of Colbert’s raised Trump-ian conspiracy theories about the election counts as heroic.

Not least because some of the MAGA minions (including members of Trump’s own legal team) have been hurling legitimate death threats at election officials like Krebs who dared break the GOP trembling yellow line of silence. “This is not how democracy can work,” said Krebs while praising the election officials across the country who have been subjected to similar threats, intimidation, and other fascist thuggery by Trump supporters (and the occasional confessed and Trump-pardoned national security threat). Predicting that these president-endorsed and inspired bullying tactics are going to have “a chilling effect” on our voting process going forward, Krebs told Colbert that investing in paper ballots, modernizing election systems, and a comprehensive return to Civics education K-12 (and beyond, presumably to every racist uncle in the land) are what’s needed to combat this anti-democratic dumbfuckery.

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Colbert, addressing Trump’s recent address/rant/sad, flailing spectacle of a speech about how he was totally cheated, then engaged his insider-informed guest in a rapid-fire debunking session. Glitches in the Dominion software that switched untold votes from Trump to Joe Biden? Nope—easily detected hiccup that was immediately corrected and verified by those paper ballots he was talking about. Dominion tabulations being carried out in secret in some foreign country (possibly by the ghost of Hugo Chavez)? “Oh, this one again,” Krebs sighed, before laying out how that’s all eye-rolling nonsense. (“I don’t even understand this one,” an exasperated Krebs said.) What about claims that Pennsylvania votes were taken to another secret location away from Republican poll watchers? Yeah, as Krebs noted, Trump’s own lawyers admitted in court that that’s bullshit.

In Nevada, can you sign your name as “Santa Claus” and they’ll accept your mail-in vote? Only if your name is, in fact, Santa Claus. As to that handful of Arizona ballots that were stolen from mailboxes, Colbert had to toss away his pen in horror when Krebs told him that claim was true—but collected himself once Krebs explained that the theft (of as-yet un-cast ballots) was detected, corrected, and inspected, and that everyone got to vote just fine. Krebs took a pass on joining in on Trump’s whole “massive dumps” claims, only saying that incoming vote data is sorted before counting. So, yeah, a “massive dump” of Biden votes from one area just means that the people in that area just fucking hate Donald Trump. (Paraphrasing.) Krebs wasn’t amused by Colbert’s final claim that Rudy Giuliani’s recent, drippy decrepitude is due to being bitten by a zombie Biden voter, saying, “Stephen, I think we move onto the next bit now.” Still, it would explain a few things, and it’s not like the outgoing president of the United States didn’t just start making shit up on national TV.

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

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