The Late Show host, as well as Seth Meyers on Late Night, tore into Trump for embracing that term during a Texas rally in support of Senator Ted Cruz. “They have a word. It sort of became old fashioned,” Trump said. “It’s called a nationalist, and I say, really, we’re not supposed to use that word. You know what I am? I’m a nationalist… Use that word.”
“You know why you’re not supposed to use that word? Because it’s the second half of ‘white nationalists,'” Colbert retorted. “Chopping off the first word doesn’t change what it means in our minds. ‘Oh look, look, I’m a Klux Klan. I have no idea which one. Don’t judge me.”
Typically, government officials stick with the word “patriot” for the reason Colbert laid out, in addition to using “nationalist” to sometimes describe potential foreign threats.
“I never heard that theory about being a nationalist,” Trump said in defense of his adoption of the term, according to The New York Times. “I’ve heard them all. But I’m somebody who loves our country.” He then added, “I am a nationalist. It’s a word that hasn’t been used too much. Some people use it, but I’m very proud. I think it should be brought back.”
“Wow, so he’s just opening using the word nationalist,” Meyers said on Late Night. Using a Wheel of Fortune graphic with a four-letter word that begins with N, he continued, “I don’t want to say that Donald Trump is a Nazi, but I will say, Pat, I’m ready to solve that puzzle.”