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A number of late-night hosts spent a portion of their Thursday episodes guessing who is behind the bombshell New York Times op-ed published on Wednesday. The writer is an anonymous senior Trump administration official.
The piece reveals that the writer is part of the “resistance” to Trump, though is not part of the left.
Trump took to Twitter to demand that The New York Times reveal the identity of the anonymous writer. He tweeted, “Does the so-called ‘Senior Administration Official’ really exist, or is it just the Failing New York Times with another phony source? If the GUTLESS anonymous person does indeed exist, the Times must, for National Security purposes, turn him/her over to government at once!”
Does the so-called “Senior Administration Official” really exist, or is it just the Failing New York Times with another phony source? If the GUTLESS anonymous person does indeed exist, the Times must, for National Security purposes, turn him/her over to government at once!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 5, 2018
Trevor Noah updated his viewers on The Daily Show about the story. “Yesterday we were all shocked to learn that there is a secret group of senior officials in the White House who say they are trying to stop Trump from being Trump,” he said. “That’s right. They’re taking him down from the inside, to which KFC replied, ‘I thought that’s what we were doing.'” A photo of Trump happily eating from the fast-food chain was then displayed onscreen.
“I feel like if Trump catches who did this, he’s not gonna go easy on them because not only did they embarrass him in The New York Times, but they also forced him to read,” said Noah.
“Now the person who did this is someone who thinks that Trump is amoral and unfit to be president. That’s who we’re looking for,” he continued. “So that narrows it down to everybody. In fact, yesterday another person published an anonymous editorial in the Slovenian Gazette.” Noah then read an excerpt with a thick accent meant to mimic Melania Trump. “This president is not being best and also America needs her own bedroom.”
Stephen Colbert also addressed the topic on The Late Show. The host began the segment by sharing an array of news coverage clips about the topic, in which the op-ed is regularly described as “explosive.”
“They say ‘explosive.’ The word I would’ve used for this op-ed is ‘confusing,'” he said. “Because if you’re inside the White House pretending to be loyal to the president, but secretly forking the president to protect the rest of us from him, why would you tell us? Now he’ll try to stop you. ‘Don’t worry, honey. I’m right behind the killer, ready to grab the knife and he’s turning around because he heard everything I just said. And he stabbed me.'”
The writer said that many administration members are working from within the White House take Trump down and to frustrate his worst inclinations. “That is not easy because all of Trump’s inclinations are tied for worst,” responded Colbert. “This is a guy whose diet consists entirely of cheat days.”
The host added that some people believe they know who wrote the op-ed based on the use of the word “lodestar” in the piece. “It happens to be one of Vice President Mike Pence’s favorites,” he said before sharing a montage of clips of Pence using the word. “It’s so unlike Mike Pence to make a strange word choice,” said Colbert. “Just ask his wife, ‘mother.'”
Colbert said that Pence is pushing back against the allegations that he is behind the op-ed. “Right after the speculation started, he denied writing the op-ed. He also denied having a closet full of bumper stickers that say ‘Mike Pence 2020, I wrote the op-ed,'” Colbert joked.
While Trump has taken his frustrations to Twitter, Colbert shared that he also allegedly has called the people in the resistance “snakes” and that they’re “getting rid of them.” Colbert then shared footage from the White House, which was really a clip from Snakes on a Plane in which Samuel L. Jackson’s character complains about the snakes. “We’re kidding, of course. No black people work at the White House,” said Colbert.
“But if you’re surrounded by snakes, Mr. President, you’ve only got yourself to blame. You hired them, and if you find out who they are, I think I know what they’re gonna say,” said Colbert before sharing a clip of Trump saying, “You knew damn well I was a snake before you took me in.”
“He’s being painted in this editorial as an immoral idiot, but first thing this morning, Trump hit back with a sterling character witness,” he said. Colbert read a tweet from Trump, which read, “Kim Jong Un of North Korea proclaims ‘unwavering faith in President Trump.'” Colbert responded, “You can’t have a murderous dictator vouch for you. This is worse than disastrous ’70s ad campaign ‘Choosy moms choose Jif and so does Pol Pot!'”
Over on Late Night, Seth Meyers addressed the op-ed during his “Closer Look” segment. Meyers said that many Trump supporters have been forced to vouch for Trump’s mental health, including South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham. “If you’re out there saying Trump’s a kook or he’s crazy or he’s unfit for office, you don’t know what you’re talking about,” joked Meyers in response to Graham’s comments supporting Trump on CNN.
Meyers then cut to an interview with Graham from 2016 in which he refers to Trump as a “kook,” “crazy,” and “unfit for office.” The late-night host responded, “Oh my God! The author of the op-ed was Lindsey Graham. That would explain the paragraph where he calls Trump ‘crazier than a wet mule eating corn through a picket fence.'”
“When he heard about the editorial, Trump was like, ‘How dare this person publicly undermine a high level government official. Anyway, I’m gonna go and humiliate the attorney general on Twitter,'” he said.
Corden also shared that the op-ed writer said that Americans should stay calm because there “are adults in the room with the president.” He responded, “So right off the bat, we can go ahead and rule out Eric Trump.”
He first pointed out that the writer used the phrase “Our shared values.” A compilation of clips of Pence saying the phrase was then shared. “Okay,” said Fallon. “Sounds like Mike Pence has said that before, but it still could be anyone.”
The next phrase used in the op-ed that Pence has publicly said a lot is “safer and more prosperous.” Fallon responded, “Those are pretty common sayings. It doesn’t mean it was definitely Mike Pence.”
“The one word in the article that really stood out that I’d never heard before is the word ‘lodestar,'” said Fallon. After showing a number of clips of Pence using the specific word, Fallon concluded, “Okay, it was Mike Pence. All right, that’s fine. Let’s just move on.”
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