“For the past two years, that’s been Trump when he’s winning. Now we’re gonna see Trump when he’s losing,” Trevor Noah said Wednesday night.
The late-night comedians had to give props to Donald Trump for making the day after the election all about him with his angry press conference and subsequent firing of Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
It was all they could do to pull it all together, and the news kept coming even after all of them had finished taping their shows, which had to be frustrating. While all of them covered Trump arguing with CNN’s Jim Acosta as an aide tried to wrest the mic from his hand, they missed what happened Wednesday night.
Acosta was turned away at the White House, having had his press credentials revoked over the incident. Even worse, Sarah Huckabee Sanders alleged that he physically assaulted the staffer, when live footage of the event showed no such incident. There was incidental contact at best.
Nevertheless, there was still plenty to talk about, as Acosta wasn’t the only reporter Trump yelled at or insulted throughout his 90-minute press briefing. Nor was he the only one denied access to the White House, as Sessions tendered his resignation, though he started his letter, "At your request." So he was totally fired.
If Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon, Trevor Noah, Seth Meyers and James Corden thought they’d just be able to talk about the election results during Thursday’s broadcast, they were in for a double-shot of Trump instead.
"You guys might have taken control of the House, but the news cycle will always be mine," Trevor Noah said in his Donald Trump impression, and it seemed to sum up the sentiment across late-night. Democrats might have taken the House, but Trump still owns the press.
He did admit to the press that he was glad the Democrats had gained some power in government for at least one reason. "I’m just gonna blame them, you understand. I’m gonna blame them. They’re the majority," he explained. "Honestly, it makes it much simpler for me. They will be blamed."
Noah had to give credit where it was due in this case. "As shameless as that is, I somehow appreciate that Trump just told us his evil plot," he said. "He’s like a cliche movie bad guy."
Shifting to the firing of Jeff Sessions, Noah joked, "He didn’t fire Jeff Sessions. He just said Rumplestiltskin and then the curse was broken. That’s how it works."
He then pointed out that Sessions’ replacement is Mathew Whitaker, a guy who wrote an op/ed saying that Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling had already gone too far, and then went on television and suggested that the easiest way to stop him would be to just remove his funding.
"This guy’s plan to kill the investigation is just that he would drain all of Mueller’s resources, which is about the most passive-aggressive way to kill an investigation," Noah laughed. "So Mueller’s just gonna show up at work and he’s gonna be like, ‘We finally cracked the Russian collusion case. Time to print out the indictments.’ ‘Oh, we don’t have printer ink.’"
Stephen Colbert took note of some of the differing reports of how Sessions’ removal went down. "There’s some confusion among stupid people as to whether Sessions was fired or he resigned," he said. "He did submit a letter of resignation but it began, ‘At your request, I am submitting my resignation.’
"Look at that, Southern hospitality until the end," Colbert continued. "’Sir, at your gracious request, I am going to sit on it and spin.’"
He then took a look at Whitaker and joked that there’s just no way to know where he stands on the Mueller investigation, "unless you read his op/ed, ‘Mueller’s investigation of Trump is going too far.’" He then suggested that "Trump could take all the money away from Bob Muller and, just out of habit, give it to a porn star."
One of the moments in the press conference that stood out for Colbert was when Trump went down a list of GOP candidates who had not "embraced" him as an ally in their campaigns and subsequently lost. He kept saying that they did not accept the embrace.
"I’m surprised that stopped him, because he is not known for asking permission before he embraces," Colbert joked.
He then poked fun at the poor White House staffer who tried to snatch Jim Acosta’s mic. "She looked like a wedding DJ who just realized the best man is loaded."
Another topic that came up is his tax returns, which a Democratic-led House can ask for and subpoena. When asked if he would comply should that happen, Trump went on and on about how his returns were so complicated no one would understand them.
"He talks about his tax returns the way a moody 14-year old talks about a poem he wrote," Jimmy Fallon said to that. "You wouldn’t get it, Dad!"
He then talked about the woman who tried to get the microphone from Acosta’s hand, easily one of the more surreal things ever seen in the White House Press Corps. "It got even weirder when Trump started chanting, ‘Jerry! Jerry! Jerry! Jerry!’" Fallon said.
As for Jeff Sessions "requested" resignation, "It makes sense that he’s leaving now. Santa needs him to start making toys at the North Pole."
But Fallon couldn’t let it stand there, not when there are so many other elves. "He says he wants to step down to spend more time with his brothers Crackle and Pop," he added.
James Corden also noticed how Trump basically did a spoken-word diss track to all the Republicans who lost without his endorsement. "I think somebody’s been listening to Ariana’s new single, ‘thank u, next," he said. "Trump’s like the Pusha T of politics."
He went on to add, "Trump’s going person by person and insulting every one of his former colleagues. Is this a press conference or his last day of work at Radio Shack?"
His take on Jeff Sessions leaving the White House was to simply say, "So it looks like another Confederate monument got taken down today."
Of course, he couldn’t stop there. "I’ll tell you one thing, Jeff Sessions is leaving some very tiny shoes to fill," he joked. And one more: "He won’t be able to enter the White House anymore, or as Melania called him, lucky bastard."
"Did somebody not get his Snickers bar this morning?" Jimmy Kimmel asked after watching footage of the president at work in that press briefing. "If Donald Trump ever gets on money it should be on a sock full of nickels you use to beat people with."
He also took the elvish route when talking about Jeff Sessions getting fired from the Trump administration, showing footage of him leaving the Capitol. "That’s him exiting the building, leaving the Department of Justice to go back to live in his hollow tree," Kimmel said.
"In his letter, he said he operated with integrity and strove to uphold the rule of law," Kimmel said. "Trump was like, ‘Yeah, why do you think I fired you? I didn’t want that.’"
But then he got down to the real nitty-gritty of the whole ordeal, with Whitaker coming in with a pre-made plan for how to stifle and ultimately end the Russian meddling investigation.
"Okay, Bob Mueller, time to snort some Adderall and get that report down ASAP, you understand?" Kimmel said earnestly into the camera. "We’ve waited long enough."
Meyers had a different take on the press briefing. "People thought he would be mad, but I don’t know, I thought he was pretty energetic and upbeat," Meyers said, choosing delusion over reality.
"That was either a press conference or a demonstration of every side effect of Chantix," he joked.
While he didn’t go with the obvious elf jokes while talking about Jeff Sessions’ firing, we will say he was elf-adjacent. "Attorney General Jeff Sessions stepped down today," he said. "Apparently, he’s been on a stool this whole time."
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