- Late-night TV hosts reacted to the violent siege on the US Capitol building on Wednesday.
- Each late-night host gave extended monologues dedicated to the events, and each condemned the actions of the Trump supporters who breached the meeting place of US Congress.
- Stephen Colbert opened his show by describing the footage from the Capitol building as the “most shocking, most tragic” but “least-surprising” he has ever seen.
- Jimmy Kimmel said: “These people are not Americans.”
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After the chaotic scenes in DC following the siege on the US Capitol building by large groups of pro-Trump extremists, TV’s late-night hosts dedicated extended portions of their shows to breaking down how the events unfolded.
Jimmy Kimmel: “These people are not Americans.”
Broadcasting from his home due to rising COVID-19 rates in Los Angeles, Jimmy Kimmel described Wednesday as the “treason finale” of Donald Trump’s presidency and expressed disbelief that something like could happen during his lifetime.
He said: “This was one of those days that I always assumed was behind us. This was not the sort of thing I ever imagined would happen in this country â€” in my lifetime. The President of the United States, because he is too angry, too insecure, and too incompetent to deal with the fact that he lost an election, a fair election, an election that was no different than any other election â€” an election he lost by seven million votes â€” and 70 electors â€” turns an angry mob against members of Congress and his own Vice President. Not to mention endangering the Capitol police. Those blue lives he claims matter so much to him.”
Kimmel later added: “These people are not Americans. There is no we the people, there is me the people and that’s it. The wildest part is these MAGA marchers think Donald Trump cares about them. He doesn’t care about you. He doesn’t care about your wife, or your job or your healthcare, or the air you breathe, the water you drink. He cares about himself. And only about himself. Unless you were pushing a lawnmower, he wouldn’t let you into his golf club. He’d roll his limo right over you to get a Chick-Fil-A sandwich.”
Stephen Colbert: “Who could have seen this coming? Everyone. Even dummies like me.”
Stephen Colbert said the images coming out of DC were the “most shocking, most tragic” but “least-surprising” he has ever seen. He also called on Republican senators who supported President Donald Trump to take responsibility for the violence, specifically naming Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri who was seen raising a fist in support of the extremists earlier in the day.
Colbert also drew comparisons between Wednesday’s events and Nazi Germany.
He said: “Hey, Republicans who supported this president, especially the ones in the joint session of Congress today, have you had enough? After five years of coddling this president’s fascist rhetoric, guess whose followers want to burn down the Reichstag? Because today, the U.S. Capitol was overrun for the first time since 1814, and a woman died. Who could have seen this coming? Everyone. Even dummies like me.”
Seth Myers: “It was a sequence of events unseen in the modern history of this nation and the images should be seared into our collective consciousness for the rest of our lives.”
Seth Myers opened his show with perhaps the strongest denouncement of the siege and the effects it will have on US democracy.
“Today was a day filled with surreal and horrifying scenes of armed insurrection, an attempt to destroy through violent means American democracy,” he said. “It was a sequence of events unseen in the modern history of this nation and the images should be seared into our collective consciousness for the rest of our lives.”
Myers said that while “the first draft of history is being written” and everyone is still processing the events, he believes it is important to be as “as plainspoken and clear-eyed as possible.”
He continued: “What we saw today was a violent insurgency and an attempt to overthrow the legitimately-elected government of the United States. And it was incited, directed, and encouraged by the president, Donald Trump, and more than a few members of the Republican Party and right-wing media. Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, and the rest of the Sedition Caucus in the House and Senate goaded this on. They’re responsible for this, they should wear this shame and disgrace for the rest of their lives.”
Jimmy Fallon: “Today was a disgrace. Today was disappointing. But, sadly, today was not a surprise.”
Later in the evening, Jimmy Fallon opened his monologue by saying Wednesday’s events are what happens when “there is no peaceful transition of power” and “bad leadership.” He said the acts of the pro-Trump rioters were acts of terrorism and later referenced the speech Joe Biden gave to try and end the siege earlier in the day.
He said: “President Biden also said something after his speech that hit me even harder: He said, ‘Enough is enough is enough.’ And I believe that is what a majority of this country has been saying, has been screaming, for a long time now. Enough is enough. Today was a disgrace. Today was disappointing. But, sadly, today was not a surprise.”
James Corden: “Have hope.”
James Corden, however, opened his show by urging viewers to “have hope” because “today was their last dance at the worst party any of us have ever been to.”
“In two weeks, on those same steps where that mob fought and pushed past the police, the people who encouraged and instigated that violence â€” Donald Trump, his children, Rudy Giuliani â€” they’re all going to need a tourist pass to get in,” he said.
Corden later pointed out the discrepancy between Donald Trump’s behaviour towards unarmed Black Lives Matter protestors, and the behaviour of the insurrectionists walking around inside the US Capitol building. He said: “I wouldn’t want to even imagine his treatment or response to those people if they had been wearing Black Lives Matter hats instead of red MAGA ones.”