Shortly before the election, comedian Dave Chappelle appeared to defend Donald Trump from allegations of sexual assault in a stand-up set, going so far as to compliment the then-Republican nominee's "resilience." In that same set, Chappelle also misunderstood intersectionality, arguing that people who are "putting sexism and homophobia and transphobia in front of racism" ought to be ashamed. A week later, however, Chappelle delivered an opening monologue on Saturday Night Live that appeared to clarify his stance on the election. In his monologue, Chappelle said he would give Trump a chance — but only if Trump, in return, gave those who have been historically disenfranchised a chance.
Before he doubled down on Trump, Chappelle reminded SNL viewers that the election should not be the only thing on their minds. He addressed the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, the Black Lives Matter movement, and Colin Kaepernick's decision to take a knee during the national anthem. He also poked fun at Trump's first meeting with President Obama, and got a round of applause when he said that everyone would miss Obama when he stepped down.
But then Chappelle took on a more serious tone. He described a recent visit to the White House, where he attended a BET-sponsored party. "Everyone there was black, and it was beautiful," he said. Chappelle then talked about how much it meant to have that space, especially given that when Frederick Douglass became the first black person to visit the White House, he was stopped at the gates. So as Chappelle looked around the room at that party, at all the faces of people whom he described as having been historically disenfranchised, he had this to say about our new president-elect:
It made me feel hopeful, and it made me feel proud to be an American, and it made me very happy about the prospects of our country. So, in that spirit, I'm wishing Donald Trump luck, and I'm going to give him a chance. And we, the historically disenfranchised, demand that he give us one, too.
After running a campaign filled with racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, anti-Semitic, and generally bigoted statements, Trump has finally asked his supporters to stop harassing minorities, but given that he also maintains his initial desire to immediately deport millions of people, it is unclear whether Chappelle's decision to give the president-elect a chance will come to fruition.
In any case, Chappelle has given Trump an ultimatum: Either he does a 180 and prioritizes the needs of marginalized communities, or he can forget about seeing an end to the protests that he likes complaining about — despite having called for similar protests back when President Obama was re-elected in 2012. The question that remains now is whether or not Trump, who recently appointed a known white supremacist to his administration, will meet these demands for his accountability.