"I think lying about anything associated with 9/11 is a disqualifier for the presidency," Stephen Colbert says.
Lies and hostility keep pouring out of Donald Trump's mouth, even in wake of one of his supporters being inspired by the president's rhetoric to carry out a domestic terrorism plot. But at least we have late-night comedians on the air to keep this POTUS in check and clarify a few things.
Jimmy Kimmel and Trevor Noah were just as stunned as the rest of us that Trump blamed Cesar Sayoc's foiled bomb plot on the media, then continued to call the press the "Enemy of the People" and "Fake News Media," despite explosives being sent to CNN buildings. But Stephen Colbert and Seth Meyers also noticed a blatant 9/11 lie the president told his supporters at a rally after Saturday's tragic mass shooting in Pittsburgh, where 11 people lost their lives when an anti-semitic gunman opened fired in a synagogue.
Let's dig in to this mess that the stars of late-night TV handled with as much humor as they could, given the solemn circumstances.
"The Late Show with Stephen Colbert"
"Naturally in times like these, our nation looks to its president for comfort and guidance. That's our first mistake," Colbert joked. "Immediately after the shooting Trump told reporters how the attack in Pittsburgh could have been prevented. Spoiler alert: It's more guns."
But we've heard that before after school shootings, so it's not exactly surprising at this point. Colbert took greater issue with the president continuing to hold a rally hours after the massacre and telling his supporters a blatant lie to back up his decision not to cancel it.
"Some people thought Trump should cancel his rally he had planned on Saturday night, but he explained why he didn’t cancel the rally at the rally that he should have canceled," Colbert summed up.
His argument? The New York Stock Exchange allegedly opened the day after 9/11. But Colbert easily fact checked that claim and pointed out, "That is an inspiring story, if any of it was true, because the New York Stock Exchange was closed until Sept. 17."
"Trump's instinct when addressing a tragedy was to lie about another tragedy," the comedian said. "I think lying about anything associated with 9/11 is a disqualifier for the presidency or really having any job."
"Late Night with Seth Meyers"
In his monologue, Meyers briefly touched on the president's response to the clear link between Cesar Sayoc -- a man nicknamed "MAGA Bomber" after mailing a dozen explosive devices to prominent Democratic politicians and Trump critics -- and Trump's hostile rhetoric that he regularly uses the vilify his oponents in Washington and on TV.
"President Trump claimed this weekend that his rhetoric is not to blame for the attempted attacks, which is kind of like saying the first domino isn't responsible for the last domino falling over," Meyers said. "Well no, not directly, but you could have guessed it would happen.
Meyers was saving the subject for a deeper dive in his "Closer Look" segment, where he also called out Trump for lying about the stock market opening the day after 9/11.
"That's right. You wouldn't believe it. And you shouldn't, because it didn't happen," he said, and then corrected, "The stock exchange stayed closed for six days after the terror attack."
"These are his most infuriating lies; the ones we can just check by typing them into Google. The ones his supporters will never check," he said, then joked, "At this point, if you type 'is Trump lying' into Google, you'll just get a page that says, 'Too many results, try Bing.'"
After demonstrating Trump's favorite network, Fox News, spreading "dangerous" conspiracy theories about Sayoc's bomb plot being a "false flag" before he was arrested, he concluded by urging his viewers to vote.
"There's no use in waiting for moral leadership from a president who's so obviously unwilling to provide it. The only option is to vote for people who will," he said.
"Jimmy Kimmel Live"
Kimmel got a kick out of President Trump's predictable response when a reporter asked if he'd tone down his hostile rhetoric. Of course, Trump argued he has done just that, but said he'll tone it right back up if the media keeps criticizing him.
"If you guys stop saying mean things about me, I'll stop inciting angry lunatics to kill you. Deal?" Kimmel joked.
The ABC late-night host also took issue with Trump blaming the media for the violence, comparing it to "when a bully punches you with your own fist and says, 'Stop hitting yourself.'"
"Trump also lashed out via Twitter blaming the media for the recent violence. He wrote, 'The Fake News Media, the true Enemy of the People,' literally days after the media got sent pipe bombs. He can't help himself, he has to double down. It's no wonder he bankrupted all those casinos, he doesn't know how to gamble."
Kimmel used several tweets from Saturday, the day of the synagogue shooting, to illustrate "all you need to know about Donald Trump."
...This evil Anti-Semitic attack is an assault on humanity. It will take all of us working together to extract the poison of Anti-Semitism from our world. We must unite to conquer hate.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 27, 2018
Watching the Dodgers/Red Sox final innings. It is amazing how a manager takes out a pitcher who is loose & dominating through almost 7 innings, Rich Hill of Dodgers, and brings in nervous reliever(s) who get shellacked. 4 run lead gone. Managers do it all the time, big mistake!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 28, 2018
"This is what he's thinking about on the day someone went into a synagogue with an AR-15," Kimmel marveled.
"The Daily Show with Trevor Noah"
The Comedy Central star reasoned that Trump either wants to encourage violence or doesn't care if he does, as he continues to terms like "The Enemy of the People" to vilify CNN -- an outlet he considers "Fake News" -- which was targeted by Cesar Sayoc, whose van was littered in Trump's signature hostile slogans, including "CNN sucks."
"If you know that a phrase has been used to encourage people to commit acts of violence, if you know they're using that phrase, why would you not stop using that phrase?" Noah asked. "Why would not just stop saying 'Enemy of the People'? You either want to encourage violence or you don't care."
"If the president of the United States calls somebody the enemy of the people, don't be shocked when the people go after that enemy," he added. "And I know Sarah Sanders is gonna come out and she's gonna be like, 'Oh, enemy of the people is just an expression.' Then why not use another expression? If you realized this one is dangerous, why not use another one?
"There's a lot of ways to criticize someone without going that far. Try poopy-head," he joked. "That's a real phrase."