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Late Night Tackles President Trump
February 5, 2019

Before Super Bowl LIII on Sunday, CBS aired an interview between President Trump and Face the Nation's Margaret Brennan. On Monday's Late Show, Stephen Colbert removed Brennan and asked Trump his own questions.

"I hope you all had a great Sunday — if you did, you did not watch the Super Bowl, because it suuuucked," Colbert said in his monologue. He made fun of Maroon 5 singer Adam Levine's chest tattoos, then briefly returned to Brennan's pregame interview of Trump before landing on Tuesday's State of the Union address: "So yesterday it was Maroon 5, tomorrow it's Orange 1. Please don't take your shirt off, sir."

"Now when it comes to the State of the Union, just like prom there's an official theme," Colbert said. "This year's theme is 'Choosing Greatness.' Yes, we get a choice: The other options are 'Selecting Mediocrity,' 'Settling for Racist,' or 'Fish.'" Trump also says "unity" will be a theme, he noted, and "to prep for his coming love-fest," Trump tweeted that Democrats "do nothing" while "human trafficking, drugs, and criminals of all dimensions" take advantage of the lack of a wall. Colbert focused on the idea of interdimensional criminals.

"But Donald Trump says he wants to unite the country, and if you look at his polling numbers, he's getting damn close," Colbert said. "In fact, 56 percent of Americans say they will definitely not vote for Trump next year, and a new CNN poll finds that 4 in 10 call this the worst governing of their lifetimes. ... Another surprising tidbit from the poll, 12 percent of Americans say they've never heard of Mike Pence. Never heard of him. 'Oh my God, honey, look behind the president! It's some sort of boring ghost. He must be condemned to roam the Earth until he completes his unfinished Cream of Wheat.'" Watch below. Peter Weber

January 31, 2019

House and Senate negotiators met Wednesday to negotiate a shutdown-averting deal on border security, so naturally President Trump lobbed a tweet into the "delicate, complex negotiation," like a heckler interrupting a bomb squad, Stephen Colbert said on Wednesday's Late Show. "Luckily there is a hero riding in to save the day," Jared Kushner and his sidekicks, the billionaire Koch brothers.

"Another group that disagrees with Trump about border security is our nation's intelligence chiefs," who testified before the Senate on Tuesday about their annual Worldwide Threat Assessment, Colbert said. "One thing missing from their report? Any evidence that would support building a wall on the southwestern border." The U.S. intelligence leaders also contradicted Trump on Iran, North Korea, and ISIS. Colbert read and annotated Trump's tweeted pushback.

The U.S. intelligence chiefs also had some warnings about Russia, on the same day the Financial Times reported that Trump met with Vladimir Putin for about 15 minutes in Buenos Aires — a meeting U.S. intelligence learned about from Russia. "At what point is Putin just going to cut out the middle man and give the State of the Union?" Colbert asked.

This must be especially infuriating for Trump because "after cleaning house and firing his enemies, Trump's intelligence community is now led completely by people he handpicked," Trevor Noah said at The Daily Show. Trump is understandably mad that "his own intelligence officials said that everything he believes is bulls--t," but the North Korea assessment is especially "heartbreaking," he said. "Trump is running around on the streets saying he loves Kim and how much they're in love, and now his intelligence team is telling the whole world that Kim's not that into him." Anyway, America, "you have to make a choice," Noah said. "Are you going to believe the heads of the CIA, the FBI, and director of national intelligence, or the guy who doesn't believe in 'Global Waming'?" Watch below. Peter Weber

January 23, 2019

On Monday, Gizmodo reported that President Trump's Facebook and Instagram accounts have in recent months featured several photos of him that were digitally manipulated to make him look thinner, less wrinkled, fuller-haired, "and in one of the strangest alterations, Trump's fingers have been made slightly longer. Seriously."

"Well, it's nice to know that even during the shutdown, we've still got a functioning Department of Homeland Insecurity," Stephen Colbert joked on Tuesday's Late Show. He showed Trump's slimmed waist line and then his elongated finger. "You know what they say about a man with long photoshopped fingers," he said, eschewing subtlety: "Sad little ding-dong." Also, Colbert added, "Photoshop has its limits. We see him in real life. What's he going to do, give the State of the Union in Hulk hands?" (Subtle changes are "the point of using an app like Facetune," Gizmodo notes. "The goal is to make sure that no one notices. Everyone knows what President Trump looks like, so drastic alterations are going to be obvious immediately.")

Still, "if they're trying to make Trump more appealing, I say they just go farther," Colbert said, and his demonstration was the deepest cut of all.

The Late Show also teed off Rudy Giuliani's New Yorker interview to come up with some rough drafts for his tombstone epitaph. Watch below. Peter Weber

January 23, 2019

Tuesday was Day 32 of the government shutdown, and Stephen Colbert is prepping to live without a government. "I'm licking raw chicken to build up an immunity, and I'm practicing to be my own TSA," he joked on Tuesday's Late Show. "I'm hiding something somewhere, and I'm gonna find it." There is some hope for a temporary end to the shutdown, Colbert noted, but there was also "some bad news from the Supreme Court," which revived President Trump's ban on transgender military service. "That was like 15 bigoted policies ago," he said, and since it was a 5-4 party-line vote, Colbert threw in a Brett Kavanaugh joke.

Meanwhile, Rudy Giuliani "stepped in it" on Sunday by saying Trump's Moscow Trump Tower deal was under negotiation until right before the 2016 election, but he "tried to call backsies" in a "weird" and "rambling" interview with The New Yorker on Monday night, Colbert said. Giuliani appeared to disclose Trump-Russia tapes and conversations he later said he shouldn't have mentioned, contradicted himself repeatedly, and mused about lying for Trump being on his tombstone and how he would convince St. Peter he was honest. "You know things are going great when your lawyer is already prepping his argument to stay out of hell," Colbert said.

Cliff Sims, a former Trump staffer with a new tell-all out, will be on The Late Show next week, Colbert said, and he ran through some of the newly released revelations, like Trump's reliance on budget-brand hairspray ("Now we know where Trump gets most of his best ideas from — the fumes," Colbert joked) and Trump walking out on a droning Paul Ryan to turn on the TV in a room down the hall. In Colbert's imagination, the TV wasn't tuned to Fox News.

On The Tonight Show, Jimmy Fallon put on his Trump outfit and imagined what other things are going through Trump's head these days. Watch below. Peter Weber

January 22, 2019

"I am tickled red, white, and blue to welcome you to our very special show, Intermission Accomplished: A Halftime Tribute to Trump," Jimmy Kimmel said on Monday's very special Kimmel Live. "We are here tonight to celebrate the midway mark of Donald Trump's first term in office — because let's be honest, this is a man who is far too humble to celebrate himself." He listed some of Trump's many accomplishments: "More than 6,000 tweets in office, at least half of those with no misspellings at all. More than 100 days on the golf course, keeping tabs on the environment. And let's not forget the election itself: Donald Trump got 62 million votes, second-most of any presidential candidate in 2016."

Kimmel ran through Trump's hagiography, Ken Bone (Josh Gad) made a cameo, and a group of dancers ended the intro with a spirited pro-Trump medley.

"This president has delivered so many poignant words, the best words, since he took office," Kimmel said. "Donald Trump has tweeted more than every other president in history combined — more than Washington, more than Lincoln even. And tonight we remember his most memorable lines," as sung by Leon Bridges. They've honestly never sounded sweeter.

Alyssa Milano popped in to hawk "Great Moments in Trump History" commemorative plates.

Kimmel also starred in a dark faux sit-com about Eric Trump (Paul Scheer) and Don Jr. (Will Arnett) hunting down the last lion in Africa.

Finally, the ghost of Fred Trump (Fred Willard) appeared to take credit for all of his son's accomplishments, then changed his mind. Watch below. Peter Weber

January 16, 2019

"It is Day 25 of the government shutdown, which is great news for everyone whose New Year's resolution was lawless anarchy," Stephen Colbert joked on Tuesday's Late Show. But "it's been hard on government employees, particularly the president. His popularity had taken a nose dive," even on his favorite poll, Rasmussen. "He's cratering," Colbert said. "By the time the election rolls around, he could lose to the ticket of Chlamydia/Ted Cruz 2020."

Still, "at least one good thing has come out of the government shutdown: A giant pile of hamburgers," Colbert said. He reveled in the photo of Trump standing before the 300 hamburgers he bought for Clemson's champion football team. If Trump's using his pile of burgers to distract everyone from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation and his tanking poll numbers, "I'm totally into it," Colbert said, especially if it comes with presidential tweets about serving "over 1,000 hamberders."

"That's right, 'hamberders,'" Jimmy Kimmel laughed on Kimmel Live. "How does that happen? The 'e' and the 'u' aren't even near each other on the keyboard! It's like in the middle of tweeting he had a stroke or something. Or is it possible he thought they were called 'hamberders' until today?" Before Trump took down the tweet, he was trolled by Burger King, among others, Kimmel noted. He trolled Trump, too, with a special person-on-the-street quiz. He also pointed out that Trump himself said he ordered 300 burgers, not 1,000. "He has to lie about everything, he can't help it," Kimmel said. "Or maybe he ate the other 700 hamberders himself."

The Daily Show's Trevor Noah found the whole burger-by-candlelight thing eerily on-brand: "If you combine any fancy thing with any garbage-y thing, that's Trump's style, right? McDonald's by candlelight, caviar in a porta-potty, him in the White House. It's just the mix. But I will say this: If the government shutdown means that Trump gets to eat cheeseburgers every night, then this thing is going to last forever." Watch below. Peter Weber

November 16, 2018

"President Trump has been spinning in a Tasmanian Devil-style rage this week," Jimmy Kimmel said on Thursday's Kimmel Live. "As rumors of turmoil and tumult continue to swirl, Trump took to Twitter to lash out at Special Counsel Robert Mueller," his "witch hunt," and his staff. "He always forgets we had real witch hunts in American history, in which they killed witches, but this is the biggest witch hunt, and Bob Mueller is moving on you like a witch," Kimmel said. Still, "what Donald Trump should be worried about" isn't Mueller, but Russian President Vladimir Putin's warm exchange with Vice President Mike Pence at an Asia-Pacific summit on Thursday. He narrated the video.

The Late Show kicked off with a different Trump conspiracy theory, showing a fake commercial to mock Trump's "nuts" idea that you need to voter ID card to buy cereal.

"With Trump in such a bad mood, no one is safe," not even Fox News host Sean Hannity, Stephen Colbert said in his monologue. "Apparently, Trump's close relationship with Hannity hasn't stopped the president from mocking the Fox News star behind his back for being such a suck-up. Does Hannity really suck up that much?" Colbert asked. It was a rhetorical question, but he played some clips anyway. Trump is reportedly so critical of Hannity he has been known to imitate his voice and mannerisms. "I would love to see Trump's impressions," Colbert said, trying out a few. The Nixon one got a little strange.

"This news about Hannity has sent shockwaves through our in-house, pro-Trump news team, Real News Tonight, who now don't know how to talk about the president," Colbert said. You can watch Jim Anchorton and Jill Newslady struggle that out below. Peter Weber

November 16, 2018

President Trump appears to be "pretty grumpy" these days, Stephen Colbert said on Thursday's Late Show. "Reports are he's moping around the White House," apparently "pissed — at damn near everyone." Wow, Colbert said, "being president has really worn him down. Remember Inauguration Day, when he was so light-hearted and filled with joy?" (Colbert didn't either.) Another former Trump staffer said there's "a level of insanity I've never seen before" at the White House," and "keep in mind, this White House has seen Kanye," he noted.

Colbert listed some real and speculative reasons Trump is so upset, including the possibility son Don Jr. will be indicted and the lack of a grand parade in Paris. But "Trump's not just moping around the White House, he's also moping around the Twitter," he said, reading Trump's tweeted tirade against Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Colbert suggested Trump was "transparently projecting his insecurities onto Robert Mueller," and demonstrated what that might look like.

At Late Night, Seth Meyers focused on Trump's "post-election funk as the blue wave that put Democrats in charge of the House keeps getting bigger." He made special note of how some of the House Democrats Trump has mocked for two years will soon have power to investigate his government and personal finances. "Damn," he said, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) "can subpoena his tax returns, his bank records — hell, she can subpoena the results of his IQ test."

"Trump knows that he'll be held accountable for his actions for the first time in two years, and as a result he's panicking," Meyers said. Watch that and his delightful cue-card incident below. Peter Weber

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