Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Top Dems go on late night shows to respond to the real emergency of Trump's fake emergency

Stacey Abrams, Seth Meyers
Screenshot: Late Night With Seth Meyers

Taping right around the time on Thursday afternoon that Donald Trump decided his inability to muster congressional support for his white supremacist border lies constitutes a national emergency, both Stephen Colbert and Seth Meyers were fortunate to have already booked a couple of rising Democratic stars to respond. And while neither South Bend, Indiana Mayor and presidential candidate Pete Buttgeig nor SOTU rebutter and possible other presidential candidate Stacey Abrams used the words “dictatorial bullshit” to describe the effort by Trump (and, it turns out, a suddenly not all that concerned with the Constitution Republican Party) to engage in what Colbert, in his monologue, termed “unconstitutional overreach,” both were pretty dismissive of the idea.

For Buttgeig (pronunciation key here), who was on The Late Show technically to promote his new book, continue his exploratory 2020 campaign, and defend his temerity in running for president when he’s not a creaky old person (he’s 37), Trump’s “emergency” paled in comparison to actual emergencies like climate change. Noting that his city recently suffered what were deemed “1000-year” and “500-year” floods, Buttgeig suggested that the rapidly encroaching devastation caused by man-made climate change is, perhaps, more of a crisis than the host of Celebrity Apprentice throwing a hissy fit because he couldn’t get his way through the proper channels. (Colbert noted Trump’s recent example of immigrants using “super cars” to vroom across the border as evidence of where Trump’s sophisticated thinking is coming from.)

On Late Night With Seth Meyers, Stacey Abrams took more time to break down that, let’s call it “mind,” telling Meyers that, while launching legal challenges to Trump’s latest “temper-tantrum” are both necessary and already in progress, getting “histrionic” about this issue would be playing into what Trump actually wants. Adopting something akin to the position of a wise and experienced teacher of a petulant, red-faced little fabulist, Abrams told Meyers, “We validate his behavior by treating it as serious. What we should treat it as as fraudulent and fraught with egotism,” adding that the proper response is “Sue him, let him lose, and don’t give him the credibility of treating this as serious.” Still, some calls to your representatives might not go amiss.

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Dennis Perkins

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