Yesterday afternoon, Donald Trump held an apparently impromptu press conference at Trump Tower, during which he doubled down on the idea that there were “many sides” at fault for the deadly violence in Charlottesvile over the weekend. If anything, the rhetoric he used while answering reporters’ questions was even more inflammatory than his remarks on Saturday, which drew seething criticism for their vagueness in condemning white supremacists–and completely eliminated any whiff of goodwill Trump may have accrued from eventually calling out the KKK and neo-Nazis on Monday.
Although many artists and entertainers reacted online immediately, a select few were required to so in a more thoughtful manner for their job.
You GOTTA watch @colbertlateshow tonight. The monologue is straight fire. We rewrote the entire thing in 30 min after Trump's shitstorm.
— Ariel Dumas (@ArielDumas) August 15, 2017
Here’s how each late-night talk show fared in covering the press conference.
Late Show with Stephen Colbert
Colbert’s show lead the charge with an epic monologue about Trump’s remarks. The host starts off presenting the president with a homemade Hallmark card, which would look not out of place in Trump’s Good Headlines folder, wishing him “Happy Belated KK-Kondemnation.” Then, over the course of nearly 13 fiery minutes, he attacks practically every eye-popping quote from the press conference, from the idea that Trump usually “waits for the facts” before condemning things, to the president’s complaints about how the sigh fake news reacted to his initial comments on Saturday. One of his most important points, however, is one he makes about the so-called “alt-left,” a phrase which is about to be absorbed into the vocabulary of Racist Uncles everywhere, right next to Fake News. “The opposite of alt-right isn’t the alt-left,” Colbert declared, “it’s the not-Nazis.”
Jimmy Kimmel Live!
Jimmy Kimmel starts off his monologue by describing all things he and his writers had planned for the show before the press conference rendered them moot. They apparently had bits about topics like Bachelor in Paradise and Uggs all ready to go. Instead of those jokes, however, Kimmel and Co. pivoted to covering Trump’s press conference. The host goes on to say Trump’s doubling down about “both sides” was like if Mike Tyson had bitten off Evander Holyfield’s other ear off after biting off the first one.
Kimmel then goes off on a tangent equally as long and thoughtful as Colbert’s, culminating in a direct plea to Trump voters to come to terms with what they’ve done. “You don’t want to admit that these smug, annoying liberals were right,” he says. “It’s the last thing you want to do. But the truth is–and deep down inside you know you made a mistake, you know this is true–you made a mistake. You picked the wrong guy.”
Considering that Kimmel is one of the less explicitly political late-night hosts of today, many Trump voters likely received the message. Whether it had any impact on them, however, one can only guess.
Late Night with Seth Meyers
The all-star of Monday night’s reactions to Charlottesville, Seth Meyers spent only a brief two minutes on Trump’s press conference last night. In a segment entitled “Breaking Crazy”–which is either a reference to how late in the day the event had occurred, or to Breaking Bad–Meyers concludes that Trump is acting like “a bad waitress at a crappy diner who’s trying to get fired so she can go to a concert.”
The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon
Although Jimmy Fallon didn’t directly address the press conference on his Tuesday night episode, it’s worth watching his near-tearful reaction to Charlottesville, which aired on Monday night.