On Tuesday’s Late Show, Stephen Colbert addressed the fallout from Donald Trump’s latest shocking distraction tactic: his claim to reporters on Monday that he’s taking the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine – a drug the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has specifically advised not to take for coronavirus as it has potentially lethal side-effects – as protection.
“Look, I don’t care how you feel politically, we have to protect the president of the United States. There’s just no way to dismiss the seriousness of death,” Colbert said, then cut to a clip of Trump telling reporters off-handedly: “Death is death.” “I stand corrected,” said Colbert.
Trump’s claim alarmed several public health officials, as well as the speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, who told CNN’s Anderson Cooper she was concerned the president would take an unrecommended, potentially dangerous drug “especially in his age group and in his, shall we say, weight group – what is morbidly obese, they say”.
“Oh, that is a very polite way to say a mean thing,” said Colbert, imitating Pelosi. “I’m concerned about the president because he is, shall we say, 20lb of pudding in a 10lb sack. What I’m saying is, your president is so fat that when he sits around the White House, he – shall I put this diplomatically? – sits around the White House, which is a very, very large building indeed.”
Pelosi’s comments were panned by many, and “it’s important to point out that fat-shaming is wrong”, Colbert noted. “Plenty of wonderful people are old and fat and beloved, like Santa. But guess what? Santa shouldn’t take hydroxychloroquine either.”
Asked about Pelosi’s comments by a reporter, Trump retorted: “I don’t respond to her, I think she’s a waste of time.”
Trump should know, Colbert said, as “he is the world’s leading authority on wasting time. This one time, there was this huge, deadly global pandemic and he didn’t do anything about it for like two months! It was a personal best in being just the worst.”
“Are you serious? Trump has been experimenting with hydroxychloroquine?” Trevor Noah said on the Daily Show on Trump’s explosive comments. “At this point, what unhealthy thing isn’t Trump doing?” he added. “He’s taking hydroxychloroquine, he eats fast food every day, and yet he is still alive? I wouldn’t be surprised if one day we find an ancient cave painting and right in the middle of all the cavemen we find Trump, ‘fake news’, ‘I never touched that dinosaur’.”
Trump claims he’s taking hydroxychloroquine, but let’s remember: it’s not what goes into his mouth that makes him an a**hole, it’s what comes out. pic.twitter.com/CM0xcm0g12— The Daily Show (@TheDailyShow) May 20, 2020
No one knows if Trump is telling the truth about taking the drug, Noah continued. “Maybe he’s trying to distract from the inspector general story, or from all the coronavirus deaths, or from the fact that his most trusted adviser is actually one of those South Korean soccer dolls,” said Noah, referring to Jared Kushner. “We’ll never know.
“So Trump is either taking a dangerous, ineffective drug or he’s lying about doing it just for the LOLs,” Noah added.
As for Pelosi’s comments on the matter, Noah could only facepalm. “Mocking the president’s weight also makes a lot of people who aren’t Trump feel like shit too,” he said. “So please, just remember: Trump’s not an asshole because of what goes into his mouth. He’s an asshole because of what comes out of it.”
“You have to hand it to Trump – just when you think it can’t get any crazier, he starts popping FDA-disapproved drugs and telling everyone else to try it, too,” said Jimmy Kimmel on the hydroxychloroquine fiasco. “Our president is a hydroxymoron. It’s hard to process but are we surprised that the guy who thought windmills caused cancer thinks a lupus drug kills coronavirus?”
To be fair, Kimmel continued, “I don’t think Trump has any idea what drugs he takes every day. He’s like a dog – Mike Pompeo just puts the pills in peanut butter and feeds it to him.” So why say he’s taking an unproven drug? Kimmel thought about it for awhile, he said, and came to the “the only reasonable conclusion: he’s trying to kill himself.
“Remember how we all said he didn’t really want to be president?” Kimmel said. “Well guess what, I think we were right.” Kimmel joked that Trump is trying to end his presidency with the dangerous drug, since “he’s done everything possible to make sure no one would ever want to vote for him again: he colluded with Russia, he extorted Ukraine, he declared his love for Kim Jong-un, he made fun of John McCain, he threw paper towels at Puerto Ricans, he paid off a porn star, in the middle of a pandemic, he wants to reopen the mall.
“The man stared directly into an eclipse, and none of it worked – he’s still popular, and he’s still trapped in that White House, and there’s only one way out now: a big glass of bleach with a hydro and Z-pack chaser.”
And on Late Night, Seth Meyers traced Trump’s hydroxychloroquine comments back to his long history of shilling scammy products, such as Trump Vodka and Trump University. Given his track record, Meyers said, it makes sense that Trump would claim to personally take a potentially dangerous drug he’s been hawking as a miracle cure for weeks, citing “I get a lot of positive calls about it” as evidence.
“Your evidence is that you hear good stories and get positive calls about it … we’re talking about a potentially dangerous medication, not the new hibachi place in town,” said Meyers.
“Look, Trump’s gonna say and do crazy shit,” Meyers added. “He failed on the pandemic response and unemployment is at its highest point in 100 years, so now he’s spraying ink in the water so he can dart under a rock before the press can figure out what happened. We don’t have to spend all day dissecting it, debating whether it’s a chess move or a planned distraction – the guy doesn’t play chess. He doesn’t even know how to close an umbrella. Watching him play chess would be like asking your dog to change the channel on the remote control.”
The drug’s benefits are unproven, Meyers continued, and side-effects can include agitation, confusion, insomnia, mania, hallucinations and paranoia. “So either Trump’s lying about taking it … or he’s been taking it for 73 years.”