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Late-night hosts took President Trump to task for his televised address Tuesday about the clashes in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend, during which the president appeared to backtrack on his Monday statement on the deadly rally, again placing blame for the violence on “both sides.”
After failing to call out the hate groups of the rally by name over the weekend, Trump did denounce the KKK, neo-Nazis and white supremacists Monday as “repugnant” and “criminals and thugs.” On Tuesday, however, he fired off a series of questionable tweets and retweets, which he deleted before his press conference later in the day.
“What about the alt-left that came charging at, as you say, the alt-right? Do they have any semblance of guilt?… I think they do,” he also said during the address, which was supposed to focus on his efforts to enact infrastructure reform.
Stephen Colbert, who, according to The Late Show executive producer Chris Licht, had his monologue scrapped last minute to cover Trump’s comments instead, joked, “Even though many criticized how long it took, the president knew the right thing to do was make a statement on Monday, be clear about who was to blame and then move on to the people’s business. Just kidding. He held a press conference today in what I believe was the seventh circle of Hell.”
During Trump’s press conference, the president also slammed the media, saying, “If the press were not fake and were honest, the press would have said what I said was very nice.” Colbert, in response, fired back with, “And if you were a better president, you would have said something very nice.”
And, with regard to Trump’s defense of his “both sides” comment — in which he said, “I think there’s blame on both sides and I have no doubt about it, and you don’t have any doubt about it either” — Colbert just had one thing to say. “The only thing I’m doubting right now is if you’re still going to be president by Friday.”
Over on Late Night With Seth Meyers, the host made it clear Trump’s comments happened just moments before they began filming.
“President Donald Trump held a press conference right before we started taping, which means it’s time for ‘Breaking Crazy,’“ Meyers said, before going on to describe Trump’s presser as “clinically insane.”
“Normally when someone is talking that level of crazy, Batman crashes through the ceiling and punches him,” quipped Meyers.
On ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! they had a whole slew of Babies in Paradise skits they planned to show before Trump’s meltdown which led to the monologue being reworked. “I even thought ‘Hey, maybe we won’t talk much about Donald Trump tonight’ and then he opened his mouth and all manner of stupid came out” lamented host Jimmy Kimmel, who added he would feel more comfortable if Game of Thrones‘ Cersei Lannister were running the country at this moment.
Kimmel described how the press conference, ostensibly about infrastructure, degenerated so far into absurdity that is was like a “book club meeting turning into a cock fight.” Kimmel wondered aloud who let Trump take that press conference because that person “misread his state of mind and the mood in the country right now.” Not pulling any punches, Kimmel was moved to add that he “could say this with reasonable certainty that the president is completely unhinged. The wheels are off the wagon and hurtling towards the moon right now.”
On CBS’ Late Late Show, James Corden spoke about how Trump “totally reversed his statements from Monday.”
Corden stood open-mouthed after playing Trump’s “blame on both sides” quote before joking that he agrees with Trump: “There was blame on the white supremacist side and on the Nazi side.”
He teased Trump for saying he amended his statement because he likes to present only the facts. “Like the time he told us his inauguration crowd was the biggest in history, or that time he told us Meryl Streep was a bad actress.” Corden also mocked Trump for bragging that he had a house and winery in Charlottesville. And the host pointed out that the “racists are happy he made” the comments defending the white supremacists.
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon taped before the president’s press conference.
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