Since the coronavirus pandemic forced Stephen Colbert to quit his Last show theater nearly eight months ago, he delivered his nocturnal seated monologues. Without a studio audience, it just seemed wrong to stand up and not prank anyone.
On the Thursday night show, he stood for a different reason.
“We are recording this just shortly after Donald Trump entered the White House briefing room and attempted to poison American democracy,” the host said. “That’s why I’m not seated yet. I don’t want to yet. This is also why I am dressed for a funeral. Because Donald Trump really tried to kill something tonight.
Over the next few minutes, Colbert decided to forgo the jokes in favor of both dark and searing comments about the president’s deceptive speech on the state of the 2020 elections on Thursday night.
“Just absurd stuff about illegal dumps, corrupt election officials and secret Democratic counting cabals and, I don’t know, long birth certificates, probably. Everything is the same, ”he said. “And if you didn’t know Joe Biden was approaching 270, Donald Trump has just provided all the evidence you will need.”
Predictable as it all was, Colbert seemed to surprise himself just how emotionally it affected him. Catching up and seeming to hold back tears at one point, he said, “We all knew he would. What I didn’t know was that it would hurt so much. I didn’t expect this to break my heart. For him to cast a black shadow on our most sacred right, from the White House briefing room – our home, not his – it’s devastating.
“It’s heartbreaking for the same reason that I didn’t want him to get COVID, certainly why I wanted him to survive, because he’s the President of the United States,” he continued. “This desk means something and this desk should have a bit of decency.”
“For all of the predictable behavior of the past few days and the past four years, there has to be something unpredictable happening right now,” Colbert added. “Republicans must speak up. All. Because for evil to succeed, it is enough that good men do nothing. So say something now, Republicans.
He went on to say that it was in their “best interests” to “get off the Trump train” immediately. “You only survived this so far because a lot of voters didn’t want to believe everything that was obvious to so many of us: that Donald Trump is a fascist,” Colbert said. “And when it comes to democracy versus fascism, there are no good people on both sides. So you have to choose: Donald Trump or the American people? “
To newly re-elected Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who “Declined to comment” on Trump’s speech, Colbert said he heard it “loud and clear, you’re okay with that”.
“I take it that Mitch McConnell says he was also re-elected following fraudulent votes?” Asked Colbert. “And he holds the Senate because of fraudulent elections in other states, and Republicans have won House seats because of fraudulent elections?” So throw them all out? Is that what your silence says, Mitch McConnell?
“So America is going to count something else now,” he continued. “They will count who is ready to denounce Donald Trump who is trying to kill democracy. And they will count who will remain silent in the face of this desperate attack on the fundamental institution of this very great nation. Because he just attacked the thing that makes us most awesome. And it’s time for you all to say what your hats cried.
Before moving on, Colbert told viewers, “We’re not going to show you for a second what that sad and frightening scam said tonight. Because it’s poison. And I love you.”
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