It seemed like every late-night television host had something to say about President Trump’s meeting with Russian leader Vladimir Putin. Even Jimmy Fallon, who has maintained The Tonight Show isn’t really about politics, found himself alongside Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel, Seth Meyers, and Trevor Noah in slamming Trump for publicly siding with Russia and questioning America’s intelligence agencies.
“Today has shaken me to my core,” Colbert began on The Late Show Monday night. “And I don’t think I need to point out that, at 54, there’s not a lot of core left.” He then proceeded to read two quotes from Abraham Lincoln: “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves,” and “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”
“So, with that in mind,” he continued, “I’m thinking that maybe in the interest of unity the most patriotic thing we can do right now is not pointing out the alarming behavior of our president, but instead, just shut up and take it until he’s gone. Does anybody feel like just taking it?” When a resounding “No!” came from the audience, Colbert added, “Me neither.”
Trump met with Putin at a summit in Helsinki, Finland on Monday, both privately and publicly. Standing beside Putin in front of cameras, the U.S. commander-in-chief again denied claims of Russian meddling in the 2016 election — despite the conclusions of his own intelligence agencies. “I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today,” Trump said.
When asked point blank by a reporter who Trump trusts, his own intelligence or Putin, Trump said, “My people came to me, [Director of National Intelligence] Dan Coates came to me and some others, they said they think it’s Russia. I have President Putin, he just said it’s not Russia. I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be.”
Elsewhere, Trump called the U.S. “foolish,” a remark he reiterated on Twitter. The Russian foreign ministry responded over Twitter, “We agree.”
“Helsinki has frozen over,” Kimmel declared on Jimmy Kimmel Live. He also said that “we now know beyond a treasonable doubt” that Putin “has an incriminating video of Donald Trump.”
Meyers picked apart Trump’s actions at the summit in a “Closer Look” segment on Late Night. “However low your expectations were, Trump managed to go much lower,” he said.
The host also noted how, three days earlier, special counsel Robert Mueller indicted 12 members of Russian Intelligence, “offering some of the most specific evidence yet of Russian meddling in the 2016 election,” as Meyers put it. The president of the United States, then, “twisted himself in knots to take Putin’s side.”
Meyers joked how Trump was “thirsty” to “impress Putin” and suggested “it’s only a matter of weeks before he Single White Females Putin.”
“Trump gushes over Putin like a flustered 12-year-old who just met Mickey at Disneyland. And Putin treats him like a 12-year-old as evidenced by the gift he gave the president,” Meyers said, noting how Putin gifted Trump with a soccer ball.
Fallon joked that Trump was nervous to be meeting with Putin “because most people are nervous when meeting their boss.” On The Tonight Show, he added, “Putin said it went very well. In fact, it went so well he might make Trump president for another four years.”
Perhaps the most impassioned, however, was Noah on The Daily Show. “If your name is Vladimir Putin, then today was a very good day,” he said, “because today the president of the United States took your side in a fight between you and the United States.”
Noah played various news segments criticizing Trump’s performance overseas, ending on one that called the press conference the “single most embarrassing performance by a U.S. president on the world stage.”
“Damn!” Noah said. “The most embarrassing performance by a U.S. president. Do you know how hard it is to achieve that? George H.W. Bush once threw up on the Japanese Prime Minister, and Trump is now on top.”
Watch clips from late-night TV above.