“In a scary moment like this,” when a string of packages containing pipe bombs were sent to prominent Democratic figures and CNN’s New York offices this week, Seth Meyers says, “you might expect the president to call for calm and tone down his own rhetoric and direct his supporters to do the same.” That’s not exactly what we got.
Meyers on Late Night, Stephen Colbert on The Late Show, James Corden on The Late Late Show, and Samantha Bee on Full Frontal all addressed the developing situation regarding the threatening mailers on Wednesday night, as well as the president’s response.
In a “Closer Look” segment, Meyers noted how Trump “initially outsourced” the job of calming the nation to Vice President Mike Pence. Pence condemned the attempted attacks in a tweet, and stated “these cowardly actions are despicable & have no place in this Country.”
Trump, in turn, initially responded by retweeting Pence and adding, “I agree wholeheartedly.”
“Hey, man. You’re the president. You’re supposed to say something to clam people down,” Meyers said. “You can’t just add your name to someone else’s statement like you’re signing a ‘Get Well Soon’ card to a coworker.”
“First of all, we fact-checked that one and it doesn’t work out. You have no whole heart,” Colbert said on his late-night show. “And second, you’re the president. There’s been an attempted attack on two previous presidents today. This is the one time you can’t think of your own tweet? It reminds me of Lincoln’s first draft of the Gettysburg Address: ‘What that first guy said.'”
Among the targets of the threatening mailers were former President Barack Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Democratic donor George Soros, Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters, CNN, and actor Robert De Niro. They all have been vocal critics of Trump.
In addition to demonizing the Democratic Party, Trump continues to attack the mainstream media as “the enemy of the American people.” Colbert screened footage of Trump’s aggressive rhetoric for his audience and then mimicked Trump’s praise of Republican Rep. Greg Gianforte, who assaulted a reporter last May.
Trump did end up making a public statement that called the packages “abhorrent to everything we hold dear and sacred as Americans.” However, he also tweeted on Thursday morning, hours after all the late-night hosts finished airing their shows, another attack on the press.
“A very big part of the Anger we see today in our society is caused by the purposely false and inaccurate reporting of the Mainstream Media that I refer to as Fake News,” he wrote. “It has gotten so bad and hateful that it is beyond description. Mainstream Media must clean up its act, FAST!”
Corden also took aim at Trump’s initial response. “Trump says he agrees whoelheartedly, but everyone knows that retweets by definition are half-hearted at best,” he said. “I agree wholeheartedly isn’t what you tweet when there’s been an attack on former presidents. It’s what you tweet when your friend says the McRib should be available all year.”
Bee didn’t address Trump’s comments, but rather took time to highlight Fox News, which inadvertently released a tweet that read, “Suspicious package sent to CNN contained ‘some kind’ of white power, NYPD says.”
“I don’t mean to be critical right now, but autocorrect doesn’t change ‘white powder’ to ‘white power’ unless you type white power a lot,” she said.