Watch John Oliver Obliterate Trump’s Charlottesville Response For Missing This "Presidential Gimme"
On Sunday's Last Week Tonight, John Oliver condemned the events coming out of Charlottesville, Virginia. "It was truly a weekend of horrifying images," he tells the audience. "We saw Nazi flags and marchers carrying torches— tiki torches, by the way, because nothing says ‘white nationalist’ like faux Polynesian kitsch." But nothing was worse than President Trump's pitiful reaction to the events, Oliver argued. According to Oliver, Trump totally missed what should have been a "presidential gimme" along the lines of "pardoning a f*cking turkey."
“It simply doesn’t get easier than disavowing Nazis," Oliver explained. "It is almost impossible to screw it up. But that’s exactly what happened." In case you missed it, Trump's statement in response to the Charlottesville violence was to condemn "hatred, bigotry and violence, on many sides." "On many sides," Trump continued for emphasis.
"Wait… on many sides?” Oliver asks, stunned. “This was a white nationalist rally — you have to call that out by name. There aren’t many instances in modern American politics where you can honestly think, ‘That guy really should have mentioned the Nazis,’ but this is emphatically one of them. It’s like a reverse Godwin’s Law: if you fail to mention Nazism, you lose the argument."
As Oliver indicated, he, and many others, believe Trump should have very directly and overtly called out and condemned the white nationalists that were present at this weekend's rally. Indeed, Mike Godwin himself, the attorney who created the notion of Godwin's law, also echoed similar sentiments in a Facebook post and tweet over the weekend. When asked to post a statement regarding the Charlottesville tragedy, Godwin tweeted the following,
By all means, compare these s***heads to the Nazis. Again and again. I'm with you.
Oliver also criticized Trump's attempts to wash his hands of what happened. In his statement, Trump talked further about the violence perpetrated, and how it's not his fault. "It’s been going on for a long time in our country," he said. "Not Donald Trump, not Barack Obama. It’s been going on for a long, long time."
But Oliver disagrees. He played video of former KKK leader David Duke supporting the violence at the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville and giving a lot of the credit to Trump. "We are determined to take our country back. We’re going to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump. That’s what we believe in, that’s why we voted for Donald Trump, because he said he’s going to take our country back. That’s what we gotta do," Duke said on camera. Oliver then made the weirdest cat comparison ever:
I’ve gotta say, David Duke and the Nazis really seem to like Donald Trump, which is weird because Nazis are a lot like cats: if they like you, it’s probably because you’re feeding them
Ultimately, though, it was still Trump's lack of a sufficient response, and seemingly the lack of the natural reflex of "anyone in their right mind" who "would want to immediately and repeatedly disavow" being tied to neo-Nazis.
The fact that Trump did not do so seems to really have Oliver feeling dejected. “There is clearly no point waiting for leadership from our president in moments like this," Oliver says, "because it is just not coming, which means we will have to look to one another, because incredibly, in a country where previous presidents have actually had to defeat Nazis, we now have one who cannot even be bothered to fucking condemn them.”
Unfortunately Oliver may see Trump get a second chance. Unless something changes soon in the United States, the president will surely have another chance to speak out on the issue.