“I don’t know what’s going on, but I’ve got chills, I’ve got nausea,” said Stephen Colbert airing live after the final night of the Republican national convention. “It’s either the onset of Covid, or seeing 1,500 people with no social distancing, no masks and no testing packed on to the South Lawn of the White House.
“I know Republicans like voter suppression,” he added of the packed gathering. “I didn’t know they kicked it up to voter extinction.”
Before Donald Trump capped the convention with a nearly 70-minute speech, he was introduced by his daughter and “American Girl doll just following orders” Ivanka Trump, who boasted about working with her father to pass “nine pieces of legislation to combat the evil of human trafficking”.
“And then I watched him tell one of those human traffickers that he wished her well,” the Late Show host added, referring to Trump’s friendly comments about alleged Jeffrey Epstein accomplice Ghislaine Maxwell, who was arrested last month in New Hampshire.
The president’s daughter concluded her speech with a straightforward message: “Washington has not changed Donald Trump. Donald Trump has changed Washington.”
“She’s right, actually, and that’s weird,” Colbert said. “You see, the presidency proverbially changes the occupant. It matures them, it ages them.” Colbert pulled up side-by-side photos of Barack Obama at the beginning and end of his presidency and joked: “The guy on the left looks like he should be persuading the guy on the right to give up his car keys.
“But Trump doesn’t do any of the stuff that matures you or ages you,” Colbert continued, “like worrying about the American people or feeling responsibility for protecting them or evidently anything else.” Looking at Trump in 2016 and now in 2020, “I guess it’s true what they say: taxidermy don’t cracks-a-dermy,” he joked, especially when compared with Colbert’s evolution in the same time frame – “the last four years are like Trump is Dorian Gray and we’re the picture”.
Colbert also turned to Trump’s keynote speech, a true-to-form ramble filled with too many inaccurate boasts to count, especially about his handling of the coronavirus pandemic. But “amid all the lies, he did get one thing right”, said Colbert: “Americans are exhausted,” Trump said.
“Yes, we are, after listening to you for 70 minutes,” Colbert responded. “But at last it’s over, after four nights of bone-chilling nonsense from America’s top trash bags.”
On the Daily Show, Trevor Noah recapped the “extremely boring” third night of the Republican convention, in which Mike Pence – a man “so boring that during his mid-life crisis, he bought a minivan” – delivered the evening’s main speech.
It’s interesting, Noah noted, how Pence has long been able to “hide so much bullshit underneath the veneer of a respectable small-town pastor”. While Trump says “bullshit in a bullshit way” – barely disguised BS, as in the clip Noah played in which Trump claimed to love the Bible but badly deflected requests to name a single passage. Pence, meanwhile, “comes across as a reasonable guy”.
And the vice-president’s speech on Wednesday night was “Pence at his finest”, said Noah, “cool, calm and full of BS”.
Pence doesn’t so much lie as imply, Noah explained, which is why he claimed Americans wouldn’t be safe under an anarchic Joe Biden presidency, which conveniently elides the coronavirus present. “People are not safe now!” Noah retorted. “Forget the riots, coronavirus is waiting to punch me in the lungs as soon as I leave the house.”
Most egregious, Noah continued, were Pence’s boasts about Trump’s handling of the coronavirus, “which, to hear him tell it, was more perfect than Trump’s call with Ukraine”.
“I’m actually kinda impressed by how much cow excrement Pence managed to pack in here,” Noah said of the speech, in which Pence bragged about the delivery of personal protective equipment in recent months. “What he doesn’t mention is that America was so disorganized on PPE that nurses were wrapping themselves up in garbage bags,” Noah said.
As for Pence’s claim that Trump’s actions in March bought “invaluable time” for America to mobilize its response, Noah had a reality check: “What would’ve been even better was if you actually used that invaluable time, to actually do that national mobilization.”
Finally, Pence wrapped up his BS with “one amazing, new, terrible” slogan for the Trump campaign: “Make America Great Again … Again.”
“This new slogan just sounds like someone got hit in the head with a bag of hammers,” Noah said of the confusing rebrand. “Because what’s implied with ‘Make America Great Again … Again’ is that at some point during your presidency, you fucked up.”