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After tearing into the Trump administration’s separation of families at the U.S. border for multiple days, late-night hosts reacted to the president’s executive order ending the dispersal of families but retaining its “zero-tolerance” policy for illegal immigration on Wednesday night.
Early on Wednesday President Trump signed the order, which will keep families together as they are criminally prosecuted, in a dramatic turnaround of his stance on the issue. (The order may face legal challenges in coming weeks.) The hosts, who had been on the attack for days on the issue, on Wednesday expressed the dissonance of the president’s dramatic executive order signing, considering that Trump’s Department of Justice instituted the “zero-tolerance” policy that required family separation in the first place.
On CBS’ Late Show, Stephen Colbert joked that “our long national nightmare is … different.”
Colbert noted that Trump had falsely been claiming for days that only Congress could change the family-separation policy. “Yes, however you slice it, Trump has changed his mind and decided to keep families together. And just in time, too: Melania was about to turn herself in at the border,” he continued.
Over on Comedy Central, Trevor Noah said, ironically, “Hurray, our hero! Trump, right now, is like if Superman threw a meteor at the Earth and then stopped it himself. Everyone is like, ‘Thanks, I guess?'”
Noah expressed that he wasn’t surprised by the turnaround, noting that every day there seemed to be a new development in the story, including Tuesday’s Associated Press story about “tender-age” facilities for babies and young children. He cracked a joke about the euphemism, saying, “That’s a hell of a fancy way to call a baby jail … That’s like calling a cross burning a meatless barbecue.”
Just after The Daily Show, Comedy Central’s The Opposition saw host Jordan Klepper mocking a White House statement blaming Congress for requiring the White House to intervene in immigration, calling the president too “humble.” “How dare you be so humble about boldly pushing America into moral territory we never thought would even be possible?” he asked.
Klepper then provided the leader with a reminder: “Just like cutting your steak and finding new ways to spell ‘border,’ you did this all yourself, Donald.”
On ABC’s Live!, meanwhile, Jimmy Kimmel added, “Thank you, Mr. President, for lighting the house on fire and now putting the fire out.” The host added, “now — thanks to his new order — instead of being separated, families from other countries will be locked up together. Hopefully starting with his.”
And on TBS’ Full Frontal, host Samantha Bee similarly didn’t give the Trump Administration any credit for its new policy of jailing families together. “Yay, no more baby internment camps, just regular interment camps. Yay, that’s how we win in 2018,” she said. “Mommy and me jails are not a solution.”
Although The Late Late Show is filming in London this week, host James Corden made sure to address the current events in the United States.
“The news is pretty tough to talk about. Being away from America, being here, hasn’t kept any of us from paying attention to what’s going on in America right now,” said Corden. “I’m sure you will have seen these images. Images of families being forcibly separated at the U.S.-Mexico border.”
“Immigrant children laying in cages is nothing short of horrific and I don’t think this is an American political issue. I think this is simply a human decency issue,” he said. “There is not a person I know or a single person that I’ve met in the three years that I’ve lived in America who is okay with this. Who would think this is okay?”
“Rather than sit here and tell you about something you already know is awful, we thought that maybe it would be more productive to just tell you what you could do to help these families be reunited and there are things you can do,” he said.
Corden suggested viewers donate to RAICES, the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services. “RAICES primarily does two things and they’re two very, very important things. It provides lawyers for children, separated children, and it pays the immigration bond, which releases the parents from detention, allowing their children to rejoin them.”
The host concluded the topic by urging viewers to donate whatever they can. “Immigrant children are children and immigrant parents are parents and every child deserves to be with their parents.”
Seth Meyers also took time during Late Night‘s “Closer Look” segment to address the topic. “Donald Trump has always been a shameless liar, but he’s taken it to a new level this week with his administration’s defenses of his cruel family separation policy,” Meyers said.
“Trump’s only political skill is his total and complete lack of shame. His malignant narcissism allows him to confidently and brazenly lie in way that most politicians would be too embarrassed to even try,” he said.
After insisting Trump is a common liar, Meyers applied his tendencies to the policy that separated immigrant families. “Trump wants to link immigrants to crime, even if he has to make stuff up to do it,” he said. “For example, Germany has had an influx of refugees and yet crime is at its lowest rate since 1992, but Trump wants you to believe that immigration leads to more crime, so he says stuff like this.” A clip was then shared of Trump stating that Germany is not accurately reporting their current crime rate and that it is actually up 10 percent since they started taking in refugees.
“Hey man, you can’t just make up statistics like that,” said Meyers. “That’s like me saying, ‘Did you know that 10 percent of people that work in the Trump administration are Draculas?’ Which is clearly a lie because it’s at least 30 percent.”
“His shameless lying is not unique to him,” he continued. “We saw that with his cruel policy of tearing children away from their parents at the border.” Meyers noted that Kirstjen Nielsen defended the policy earlier this week by simply denying it on Twitter.
“When they were insisting the policy didn’t exist, they were insisting Congress had to fix it,” he said. After showing clips of Nielsen, Trump and Sarah Huckabee Sanders blaming Congress for the policy, Meyers said, “Okay, there you go. Congress alone can fix it. Trump can’t do it by himself. I understand.” A news clip is then shown of Trump signing an executive order to stop the separation of families and taking credit for keeping the families together. “Let’s be clear about one thing. You don’t get credit for solving a problem when you’re the one who created the problem.”
“Whether it’s the birther lie or the ‘Mexicans are rapists’ lie or the idea that Democrats are responsible for separating families, Trump’s paranoid fantasies are a Rosetta Stone for understanding what’s happening right now,” he said. Meyers referenced Fox News’ coverage of the policy, which had been “trying to make you believe that what you’re seeing with your own eyes isn’t real.”
The host then addressed the claim that the immigrant children were not being held in cages, but instead nice facilities. “Let’s be clear about something. If you rip a child away from its parents and you put that child in a suite at The Ritz, you’re still a f—ing monster,” he said.
“The through line of Trump’s political career is blindingly clear. He concocts racist lies, uses dehumanizing language to justify cruelty towards immigrants and outsiders,” he said. “It wasn’t an accident. It wasn’t a law. It was a choice by Trump and his supporters.”
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