After a weekend of increasingly off-putting and tone-deaf statements from the president about the white supremacist protests that turned violent in Charlottesville, Virginia, late-night hosts have their hands full. In his monologue on Tuesday night's episode of The Late Show, Colbert covered everything Trump did wrong dealing with Charlottesville over the last week — and the list was as long as it was cringe-worthy.
Beginning with setting the scene — Trump's unscripted Tuesday press conference from "the seventh circle of hell" — Colbert brought his viewers on a dark and terrifying journey through the POTUS's latest trial and error (but mostly error) Charlottesville statement.
In that impromptu press conference — which was supposed to be a speech about infrastructure— Trump drew ire for doubling down on his previous statements putting blame for the violence on "both sides." He even went a bit further, directly calling out the counter-protesters (that he he called the "alt-left") as partially to blame. Per his speech, he said:
I am not putting anybody on a moral plane, what I’m saying is this: you had a group on one side and a group on the other, and they came at each other with clubs and it was vicious and horrible and it was a horrible thing to watch, but there is another side. There was a group on this side, you can call them the left. You’ve just called them the left, that came violently attacking the other group. So you can say what you want, but that's the way it is.
So, again, Colbert had a lot of ground to cover for just a typical Tuesday.
First up, Colbert ripped apart Trump's delay in condemning white supremacists and Nazis — departing from his usual stream of consciousness, shoot-first-ask-questions-never approach — in order to be certain that he had "the facts."
“Just ask the millions of illegal voters who refused to look for Obama’s birth certificate," Colbert said, between clips of Trump assuring the reporters present that he was committed to only dropping informed opinions.
Then, of course, Colbert took on Trump's ongoing feud with the not-nice media. Showing a clip of the president saying that the "fake" press should've reported that his statements were "very honest."
Colbert, of course, had a solid dig for a president childishly obsessed with the media being "nice" to him:
If you were a better president, you would have said something very nice. But you’re not. Hypotheticals are fun!
He also, took some time to take aim at the 300 lb Pepe in the room: alt-right darling Steve Bannon, and Trump's controversial relationship with him. While Trump defended his strategist, saying “I like him, he’s a good man; he is not a racist – I can tell you that," Colbert was quick to say what every decent human is thinking: That "not a racist" is not a glowing praise or a reassuring quality. Like, ever. (That's a bar so low, you could trip over it.)
While Colbert couldn't hit each of the myriad of faux pas in the handling of the tragic and deeply upsetting situation in Charlottesville, he did manage to take aim (and punch the hell up) at the most egregious and ridiculous failures.