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A number of late-night hosts couldn’t help but mock the presidential alert sent to people’s phones from Donald Trump on Wednesday afternoon.
Colbert questioned why an alert needed to be sent out. “Is there really an emergency so big that everyone in America — people in Hawaii, Florida, Maine, New Mexico — have to hear about it at the exact same time? What is that big?” he asked. “Is it the death asteroid? Is it Thanos? If it’s Thanos, please no spoilers.”
Colbert explained that the alert is part of a new national presidential alert system that will notify all Americans about events, including a missile launch or tsunami.
“Look, if there’s a tsunami, Trump is the last person I want to get a text from,” said Colbert. He then shared what he believes the text from Trump would look like. “‘Huge wave! Very wet in terms of water. I’ll be there with paper towels soon.’ Rain drop emoji, umbrella emoji, dancing sisters emoji, white Santa emoji.”
The host also noted that the alert has been in the works for a while and was delayed from its original launch in September to avoid any confusion about Hurricane Florence. “That means that today, 2:18 p.m. on Oct. 3, 2018, they thought things were just fine enough that they could test an emergency alert,” he said. “So you know that gnawing sense of dread that something is terribly wrong at all times? That now passes for ‘OK.'”
He then shared the “frightening” fact about the new system: It can’t be turned off. Following backlash, though, Colbert demonstrated how Apple has made it possible to keep the alerts off your phone. “If you have an iPhone, just make sure your software is up to date,” he began. “OK, open up your control settings, and then go to control center. You want to touch customize controls and then…” He pulled out a hammer and broke the phone.
Over on Late Night, Seth Meyers explained that the alert was sent to everyone at 2:18 p.m. “Or if you’re on T-Mobile, 2:51 p.m.,” he said.
“That’s right. Everyone using a cell phone in America received a text alert from President Trump today,” he said. “‘How did he get my number?’ yelled Melania.”
“Like most things, there were some glitches the first time around. A lot of people ended up getting this on their phones: ‘Two Big Macs, large fry, Fish Filet. Hurry back,'” he joked. “That was immediately followed by a second alert that read, ‘Sorry, that was for Mike Pence.'”
Jimmy Kimmel also addressed the topic on Wednesday’s Jimmy Kimmel Live!. “The idea of letting President Trump send a text message to every American whenever he wants to may sound like a bad idea — and it is a bad idea — but what do we do here in Hollywood when we have a bad idea?” he asked. “We make a major motion picture out of it.”
The host then shared a trailer for his faux film, The Textening, which began with an exterior shot of a car driving with the caption “It was an ordinary day.” As ominous music played, a family of four was shown inside the car. When the husband’s phone went off, he said, “You’re never gonna believe what Trump just tweeted.”
“Tweeted? I thought we blocked him on Twitter,” the wife replied. The camera then zoomed in on the alert and the husband said, “This isn’t a tweet. This is a text message.”
The couple began to panic as the husband’s phone went off again. “Now he’s texting, ‘Fake news Stormy Daniels.'” The wife grabbed the phone and threw it out the window.
“Mommy, what’s a witch hunt?” asked the couple’s daughter. After getting a notification that they had received 21 new messages from Trump, the family ran out of the car. Other pedestrians panic in the street as the alerts keep coming.
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