Following internet backlash in response to a crude joke Stephen Colbert made about President Trump on a Tuesday segment of his Late Show, the afternoon taping of Colbert's Wednesday show had him state that he "would change a few words" in his previous statement, according to an advance transcript of the broadcast provided by CBS.
"While I would do it again, I would change a few words that were cruder than they needed to be," Colbert said, referring to his previous comment that "the only thing [Trump's] mouth is good for is being Vladimir Putin’s c--k holster," which many called homophobic. "I’m not going to repeat the phrase, but I just want to say for the record, life is short, and anyone who expresses their love for another person, in their own way, is to me an American hero. I think we can all agree on that. I hope even the president and I can agree on that. Nothing else. But, that."
While the transcript suggests that Colbert is attempting to make amends for his divisive comment, he has apparently stopped short of apologizing.
"I had a few choice insults for the president... I don’t regret that. He, I believe, can take care of himself. I have jokes; he has the launch codes. So it’s a fair fight."
Colbert was the subject of a widespread social media campaign on Wednesday after an impassioned monologue in which the Late Night host lambastes the president went viral. Colbert was reacting to President Trump calling CBS anchor John Dickerson "fake news" after Dickerson repeatedly questioned Trump about his claims that Obama wiretapped the White House.
"Sir, you attract more skinheads than free Rogaine. You have more people marching against you than cancer. You talk like a sign-language gorilla who got hit in the head. In fact, the only thing your mouth is good for is being Vladimir Putin's c--k holster," Colbert said.
Critics argued that Colbert's sexually charged comment crossed a line, and reflected an anti-LGBTQ attitude. The hashtag #FireColbert began trending on Twitter in an attempt to persuade CBS to remove Colbert from the air for his remarks.
Colbert opened his Wednesday show, taped late that afternoon, by immediately responding to the backlash with levity.
"Welcome to The Late Show. I’m your host, Stephen Colbert. Still? I am still the host? I’m still the host!!" Colbert said.
Colbert has seen his ratings skyrocket since President Trump's Inauguration in January, and has led the ratings among late-night talk show hosts for the past two consecutive weeks.