For the first time since Stephen Colbert shed his right-wing blowhard character from the “Colbert Report,” his former muse, Bill O’Reilly, joined him on “The Tonight Show” for a frank discussion in advance of the New Hampshire primary.
The highlight of the segment came when O’Reilly, imitating Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders, did his best to sum up Sanders’ strong position on how the US economy is run.
“It’s the billionaihs,” O’Reilly, poorly mocking Sanders’ Brooklyn accent, told Colbert. “And I, am going to solve it. It’s rigged!”
To which Colbert replied, “I’m sorry, did you just have a stroke right now?”
But Colbert got in on the fun as well, asking O’Reilly (in another attempt at a Brooklyn accent), “You mean the 1% controlling 90% of the economy for everyone else?”
O’Reilly then compared Donald Trump, on the Republican side, and Sanders. Both have been “tapping into the anger of the voter,” O’Reilly noted.
“Trump and Sanders are really the same guy,” O’Reilly said. “They just change their facial expressions.”
While the audience roared, Colbert noted that he’s “never actually seen them in the same room.”
O’Reilly told Colbert attributed Trump’s and Sanders’ success to the fact that voters want an “avenger.” Those voters, O’Reilly said, don’t really care if their candidates are proposing realistic ideas.
The idea that Trump and Sanders are tapping into voter frustration isn’t new. The New York Times discussed similarities between the two candidates, pointing out that supporters of both are angry about a political system they see as “rigged” but for different reasons. And The Washington Post has written that Sanders has been happy to embrace what Trump called the “mantle of anger.”
O’Reilly specifically criticised Trump’s proposal to deport 12 million undocumented immigrants. He noted that it’s a functionally impossible plan because of the right to due process — and that it would take until 2080 to actually have “12 million separate hearings” in front of judges.
Watch the interview here:
h/t The Daily Beast
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.