From the Seth Meyers era:
- May 4, 2016: After Donald Trump's victory in the Indiana primaries, which forced both Ted Cruz and John Kasich to end their campaigns, Seth uses his "A Closer Look" segment to show that Trump's success through the Republican presidential primaries was due to the Republicans' enabling/encouraging the racist "birther" conspiracy theories against President Obama since the 2008 election, and being unable/unwilling to put an end to it as it was spinning out of control.
- July 26, 2016: Seth debuts a new segment called "HEY!" In the first installment, he shuts down the "Bernie or Bust" movement pretty handily while explaining why they should just support Hillary Clinton instead of splitting up the Democrats into more factions and making it easier for Trump to win. Unfortunately, it is also one of his most-disliked YouTube videos (even though he makes it clear that he's only aiming at Bernie or Bust people and not general Bernie supporters).Look, I know youre Bernie-or-Bust, but the results are in: Bust won! We dont have time for this! Donald Trump is ahead in the polls! The house is on fire; stop crying because were not putting it out with your hose!
Hey, pay attention! Were on the cusp of electing a racist demagogue, and that never ends well! I dont know which class you ditched to go to those Bernie rallies, but I have a feeling it was History! Youre like a Cavaliers fan who goes to the games and boos when LeBron dunks with the wrong hand! Oh Wait! that would never happen because that is ridiculous!
I know what youre gonna say: I dont know anyone whos planning to vote for Trump! Oh, you dont? Did you ask EVERYBODY in your yoga class? Did you check with the ENTIRE drum circle? Because guess what: you know how you have that crazy uncle you only see at Thanksgiving? Well, this country is about 48% Crazy Uncles, and its about to be Thanksgiving all day every day! And please dont say pass the gravy, because when Trump is elected, no one gets gravy! Trump gets all of the gravy!
- November 2, 2016: Shortly before the 2016 election, Seth compared Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. It's a minute long, nearly breathless rant that's still delivered with grace and poignancy, and was widely lauded as one of the show's finest moments regardless of the election results."Thats the problem for a lot of Americans: they just dont love the two choices. I mean, do you pick someone whos under federal investigation for using a private email server, or someone who called Mexicans rapists, claimed the President was born in Kenya, proposed banning an entire religion from entering the US, mocked a disabled reporter, said John McCain wasnt a war hero because he was captured, attacked the parents of a fallen soldier, bragged about committing sexual assault, was accused by 12 women of committing sexual assault, said some of those women werent attractive enough for him to sexually assault, said more countries should get nukes, said he would force the military to commit war crimes, said a judge was biased because his parents were Mexican, said women should be punished for having abortions, incited violence at his rallies, called global warming a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese, called for his opponent to be jailed, declared bankruptcy six times, bragged about not paying income taxes, stiffed his contractors and employees, lost $1 billion in one year, scammed customers at his fake university, bought a six-foot-tall painting of himself with money from his fake foundation, has a trial for fraud coming up in November, insulted his opponents looks, insulted an opponents wifes looks, and bragged about grabbing women by the p***y? How do you choose? Its so even!"
- Early in 2017, Trump delivered a speech in which he maintained a calm tone the entire time, and the news media showered him with praise, declaring him dignified and presidential even though his message was just as toxic and partisan as ever — some pundits even happily declaring that Trump had finally become President to them. Seth's exasperated response?"Although I bet there are some Muslims and undocumented immigrants that would tell you he became President back in f**king January!"
- In late 2017, Senator Jeff Flake announced his retirement from the US Senate so that he could stand up against Donald Trump without fear of electoral reprisal. Seth is not impressed.[while clapping sarcastically] "All right! Jeff Flake! Way to eventually go! It took kinda-sorta guts to stand up only 11 months after the election and tell America not to elect Donald Trump. You said, 'Hey, I dont care if this hurts my 18 percent approval rating. And yeah, maybe I voted to confirm Jeff Sessions and Betsy DeVos, even though one lied during his confirmation hearing, and the other spells lie with an h. But Im going stand up and do what was right a year ago. Im going to fight for the American people by quitting my job of fighting for the American people.'"
- Similarly, Senator Bob Corker announced his retirement from the Senate in protest of Trump's actions, after well over a year of defending and justifying Trump's behavior beforehand — and despite claiming to be against Trump, he has taken no real action against him aside from a few insults on Twitter. Seth did not let him off easy:"Corker campaigned with Trump in July , after many of Trumps grotesque comments, like his call for a Muslim ban, or his claim that Mexico is sending rapists to the US, and yet Corker is now acting as if hes surprised that Trump hasnt completely changed his personality at the age of 71. ( ) Heres the thing: its not enough to hurl insults at Trump. If you think the President is a danger to democracy or national security, then you have to do something about it! You could hold hearings, call witnesses, pass laws that limit his power, or remove him from office."
- Similarly, Senator Bob Corker announced his retirement from the Senate in protest of Trump's actions, after well over a year of defending and justifying Trump's behavior beforehand — and despite claiming to be against Trump, he has taken no real action against him aside from a few insults on Twitter. Seth did not let him off easy:
- July 25th, 2018: Former FBI Director James Comey note went on Twitter to chastise Democrats for not voting for his preferred candidates, claiming that they're playing into the GOP's hands by pulling left instead of staying in the middle. Seth brings Amy Poehler on so they can both revive the famous "Really?" segment from Weekend Update, in which they tear James Comey a new one for his unsolicited advice and failure to learn his lesson from the 2016 election.Seth: Really, James Comey? You wanna weigh in on things when there's an election coming up? You feel like that's gone well for you in the past? That's like Michael Jordan saying, "I think I'm gonna take another shot at baseball!" I mean, really!
Amy: Really, James Comey? You're worried that the Democrats are gonna move too far to the left? Really? I don't know if you remember, but we were just about to have a nice, boring, moderate Democrat for a President until you decided to open your mouth a week before the election, you big, dumb scarecrow! Really, and as far as I'm concerned, the Democrats can vote for a bong in the shape of Che Guevara and you got nothing to say about it! Really!
Seth: Really! And really, you're telling Democrats not to lose their minds? I don't know if you've noticed, but the party in power is locking babies in cages, the President talks about Vladimir Putin the way Jay-Z talks about Beyonce, and the White House has more employee turnover than a Dairy Queen in September! Really! I'll take your political advice as soon as I'm done with my Jeffrey Dahmer cookbook and my Harvey Weinstein fitness tapes! Really!
Amy: Really, and look! Okay, James, I get it. You feel guilty and you don't want history to remember you as the guy who opened the door for the death of democracy. I don't blame you, really; but the idea of you playing advisor to the Democratic Party is kinda like the iceberg trying to join the crew of the Titanic. Really!
Seth: And don't tell us what Republicans are counting on Democrats to do! During the election, they were counting on you to go on TV more than Steve Harvey, and you did!
- In mid-2018, Trump went to a rally and started complaining that the system is rigged against him. Seth's response:"You know whats rigged? Your life! Youre a billionaire celebrity who dated models and became President despite being a notorious idiot and open racist who had four bankruptcies and been sued thousands of times. Trump was born on third base and thinks he scored a touchdown because he doesnt know how the rules work."
- One year after the humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico and Trump's disastrous response to it, Trump claimed that he had done everything in his power to help Puerto Rico while still attacking political opponents who actually did try to help. Seth has only this to say:"Seriously, youre calling a humanitarian disaster that left thousands of Americans dead an 'unappreciated success' while attacking the people who tried to do something about it. Not only is our President a callous, incompetent moron, hes also an ass."
- September 25, 2018: SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh went on Fox News and tried to deny sexual assault allegations against him by claiming that he was a virgin at the time the alleged assault happened and that he has many friends who happen to be women. Seth dedicates a Couple Things segment to explain why this defense doesn't work. He also takes time to call out Kavanaugh for using his wife as a prop to make himself look good for the audience, and even lambastes Fox News for their history of protecting alleged predators within the company."First thing: It does not matter that you were a virgin. You are being accused of sexual assault, not sexual intercourse. Those things have nothing to do with each other. It's the same as saying "I couldn't have robbed that bank! I'm a virgin!" Devoting yourself to celibacy doesn't mean you can't be a sexual assaulter. Just ask thousands of priests! Also, stop saying that you were friends with women! That's not a defense! Just because you're friends with one woman, doesn't mean you haven't been awful to another. That's like saying you're a vegetarian because you didn't eat your dog.
Second thing: can we please dispense with the ritual of making your wife sit next to you while you deny sexual assault allegations? It's a horrible thing to do to a woman while you're trying to prove you don't do horrible things to women. I'm sure when she said "we should go out more," this isn't what she had in mind. Look at her! I mean, that's the face of someone thinking about the guy she dated right before she met you and wondering if she still has his number!
Third thing: if you're trying to distance yourself from sexual assault, maybe Fox News isn't the place to hang out. Usually, when they interview someone accused of sexual assault, it's for a job! Shout out Bill O'Reilly!"
- In March 2019, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced that she was planning to cut all federal funding for the Special Olympics, and when people complained she said that her opponents were the bad guys in this scenario for "politicizing" the issue. Seth's response?Seth: YOU GUYS ARE THE ONES WHO PROPOSED THE CUT! If you set your neighbor's house on fire and they call 911, you can't turn around and say, "Aren't you the town gossip?" Also, can we go back to this?
Video of Betsy DeVos: I have given a portion of my salary to Special Olympics...
Seth: You're a billionaire! The Special Olympics cut was $18 million. Betsy DeVos has, according to Newsweek, 10 boats, two helicopters, and a yacht scheduler. She has so many yachts, she has a yacht scheduler! WHAT'S A YACHT SCHEDULER?
- June 22, 2020: Trump's former National Security Advisor John Bolton — infamous throughout D.C. as a vocal war hawk who's largely responsible for some of the worst international policy blunders of the last 20 years — came out with a tell-all book about his time working for the Trump White House in what appears to be an attempt at cashing in on Trump's unpopularity among American voters. Not only does Seth not buy Bolton's sudden change of heart at all, he gives Bolton and Trump's other enablers a vicious "The Reason You Suck" Speech for pretending they had nothing to do with the state the country is currently in:Seth: As tempting as it may be to believe Trump somehow created all the problems our country is facing, he did not. He certainly made them worse and, in many cases, profited from them, but the structural inequities and institutional failures we're seeing right now long predated him. They were created in part by guys like Johnny Bolton over here, the ex-National Security Advisor who refused to testify in Trump's impeachment and is now hawking a book called Mustache Rides Again... or wait, I think it's called The Trash Behind the Stache. No, wait. You know what, guys? I think it's called Bolton Bolton's Butt-Ton of Bull Dung. Anyway, you can find it on Amazon under the "Please light your money on fire instead" section.
John Bolton is an unrepentant warmonger who's helped usher in some of the worst calamities of the last two decades and who epitomizes our era of venal, self-serving sociopaths burning everything down and then cashing in as they slink away, but other than that, he's a great guy. Last night, Bolton was on ABC trying to sell his book about his time in the Trump White House — Trump, a man let's not forget, he voted for, and then lobbied to get a job with:
[clip from interview]
John Bolton: I don't think he's fit for office. I don't think he has the competence to carry out the job.
Interviewer:You supported Donald Trump during the 2016 election. You watched his first 15 months in office. What did you think of the job he was doing up to that point?
John Bolton: I think I made a mistake.
[back to Seth]
Seth: No, I don't think you did. I don't think you made a mistake. I think you're a remora — you know those little fish that swim alongside sharks and eat whatever they miss? That's what all these Trump White House supporting cast members are. And then, when their bellies are full, they swim out of the White House and and write a book called Damn, That Shark Was Crazy.
"I think I made a mistake" is not how you talk about enthusiastically supporting and working for a racist authoritarian who's trampling our democracy for his own self-interest. That's what you say when you get the Domino's order and realize it has peppers instead of pepperoni. (...) Bolton didn't make a mistake. He saw Trump in 2016 and throughout the first half of his presidency — promising to rip up the Iran deal, and to kill the families of terrorists, and banning Muslims — and he thought he could use Trump to get what he wanted. It only backfired when he realized Trump's like a tiger in a circus act: he starts out friendly, but one wrong move and he will lunge for your face.
People like Bolton are a big part of the reason we're in this mess in the first place, and on top of that, the structural inequities in our sham democracy ensure that a party with a disastrous 20-year record of governance over the course of two historically awful presidents can keep winning elections. They don't need to be popular if voter suppression and an antiquated electoral college system can keep them in power. Sure enough, the Trump team is already sending signals that they plan to interfere with the actual administration of the election. This weekend, for example, the Attorney General Bill Barr repeated a series of obvious lies about mail-in voting which many state officials, including Republicans, have turned to as a safe alternative during the pandemic. Barr claimed falsely that mail-in ballots somehow open the floodgates to fraud.
- Seth also takes time to call out the government for its draconian efforts to undermine American democracy to keep the current ruling class in power.
[clip from interview]
Interviewer: Well, there's a big discussion right now about mail-in voting. Hillary Clinton said it's fine. It's fair.
Bill Barr: Well, I don't — it absolutely opens the floodgates to fraud. Those things are delivered in the mailboxes, they can be taken out, there's questions about whether or not it denies a secret ballot, because a lot of the states have the use of signing the outside of the envelope, so the person who opens the envelope will know how people voted. Uh, there's no... right now, a foreign country could print up tens of thousands of counterfeit ballots and be very hard for us to detect which was the right and which was the wrong ballot, so I think it can upset and undercut the confidence in the integrity of our election.
[back to Seth]
Seth: You know what upsets confidence in the integrity of our elections? People having to stand in line to vote like they're waiting to take pictures with a mall Santa on December 23 — of course, if Bill Barr was in charge, they'd have to line up on August 8. Second, none of what you've said is true. You can't just print up fake mail ballots and send them in. You know they still check to make sure they're from registered voters, right? It's not like you can just write on a piece of paper, "I vote for Joe Exotic" and send it to the board of elections — although honestly, at this rate, I'm desperate enough to try it. (...) And then this morning, Trump himself tweeted "Because of MAIL IN BALLOTS, 2020 will be the most RIGGED election in our nations [sic] history..." They're trying to cheat by disrupting the actual administration of the election, and that's because they're so worried that if voters get to vote fairly, he won't win.
- December 17 2020: Seth calls out Joe Biden and other Democrats for assuming that things will go back to the status quo just because Trump lost reelection and offers cogent analysis on why this is unlikely to be the case while also calling out Republican politicians for their refusal to stand up to Trump.Seth: There's a sense among some Democrats, including apparently President-Elect Joe Biden himself, that Republicans will just calm down and become reasonable again after Donald Trump is off the political stage, which is unlikely for two reasons: one, Trump will never willingly leave the stage. (...) It's basically a guarantee that, for the next four years, he's gonna be tweeting, holding rallies, and calling in to Fox News for those three-hour-long therapy sessions where the Fox and Friends look like tourists trapped on a subway car with a guy feeding a dead mouse to his pet cobra. (...) And the second reason: the Republicans weren't reasonable before Trump, so there's no "reasonable" to go back to. A decade ago, they were famously showing up to town halls demanding to see Barack Obama's birth certificate and walking around DC wearing longcoats and tricorn hats like they waited too long to go to Party City before Halloween. (...) And yet Biden seems intent on trying to appeal to Republicans in an attempt to return to a bipartisan normalcy that isn't possible — and even if it was possible, it wasn't working for most people. Biden is reportedly considering picking a Republican to be Commerce Secretary, and on Monday, he told supporters that Republicans would come around and return to normal once Trump is gone.
[clip from interview]
Joe Biden: I predict to you, and I may eat these words, but I predict to you as Donald Trump's shadow fades away, you're gonna see an awful lot change.
[back to Seth]
Seth: And I may eat these words, but dude... Don't get me wrong, after the last four years, it'll be nice to have a President who's optimistic, but sometimes optimism can backfire. Biden's like a football coach in a sports movie who says to a player, "You may be the smallest kid on this team, but you got the biggest heart! Now you go show 'em what you can do," and then a week later, he's sitting next to a hospital bed saying, "Doc told me ya broke the leg in 50 places! I didn't even know that was possible!" When it comes to the Republican Party, Donald Trump's shadow is not just gonna fade away. At least not for a long time. (...) There are certainly no signs yet that Republicans will suddenly stop caring what Trump thinks of them. Even after he lost the election and they were free of the need to do his bidding, they still tried to overthrow democracy just to please him. They know he's tapped into the heart of the Republican base, and they live in fear of a primary challenge or a nasty tweet from him. (...) Think about how servile and cowardly you have to be to live in fear of a nasty tweet from the world's pettiest, most irritating man. (...) The point is, this is the Republican Party. Trump's not an anomaly. (...) The Republican Party has spent the last month actively trying to dismantle our democracy. There's no reason to believe they'll suddenly change, and every reason to believe this is who they really are.