Late-night hosts focused on Donald Trump’s cancelled plan to impose tariffs with Mexico and the reports that contradicted the president’s version of events.
“In my official capacity as a late-night host, tonight I declare that the state of our union is cranky,” opened Stephen Colbert on The Late Show. His monologue was focused on the now defunct tariff threat, which died after Mexico announced it would step up border security. “So, according to Donald Trump, Donald Trump was the hero, saving the world’s economy from the clutches of that maniac, Donald Trump.”
The New York Times later reported the increase in border security from Mexico was in the works for months and not actually a result of Trump’s tariff threats. “So the threats of tariffs, the negotiations, the deal itself were all fake. It was like some sort of theatre. In this case, The Lyin’ King,” Colbert said, parodying the popular Disney movie turned hit Broadway show. The host continued: “So Trump is just taking credit for deals that were already in place!” In a Trump imitation, he demonstrated what such actions sounded like: “I’m so proud to announce that the Berlin Wall is coming down, the hostages have been released by Iran and I have purchased Louisiana from France.”
CNN said the tension was mostly about saving presidential face, to which Colbert quipped: “And anyone on Trump’s makeup team knows that’s not an easy task.” Trump then tweeted he thought he deserved a national holiday for his actions, but that he never gets any credit. “No, it’s true. Trump gets no credit. That’s why he had to borrow all the money from the Russians,” Colbert cracked.
Jimmy Kimmel also focused on Trump’s “credit” tweet, telling his audience: “Maybe the reason he can’t get credit is because you’ve declared bankruptcy six times.” The late-night host then mused about the effect a national holiday in Trump’s name might mean. “You think if we just gave him a national holiday, he would relax? I mean, let’s try. Let’s call it Trumpsgiving and align it with whatever day the McRib comes back every year.”
Calling the botched press around the deal Trump’s “deal or no deal with Mexico”, Kimmel continued to look at the president’s response to the New York Times’ report. “Trump is upset because the Times reported that Mexico’s concession on border security was not because of his tariff threat, it was actually the result of months of preparation by his staff. And Trump was like, that is fake news, my staff is never prepared.”
But Kimmel pointed out this story would probably not have received as much attention had Trump not tweeted about it. “The funniest thing is, this is the New York Times. I don’t think Trump’s base would have had any awareness of this story if he hadn’t brought it up. It’s like texting everyone in your phone: ‘Please don’t look at this picture of my pants falling down, which is attached.’”
He then turned to reports that friendship tree given to Trump from France’s president, Emmanuel Macron, has died. “It hung itself from a person,” Kimmel joked. “It’s actually right where they buried Sean Spicer.
“There’s been no official comment from the White House or the Department of Agriculture, which actually runs the White House lawn, but make no mistake, that tree is as dead as the eyes of the Trump children,” he closed.
Trevor Noah jokingly celebrated Trump for his accomplishment, in not destroying the economy by imposing the tariffs against Mexico. “And yes, he was the one who caused the crisis to begin with, but that’s not the point.”
Noah also applauded Trump’s two-faced actions. “Anyone can be a good guy. Anyone can be a bad guy. Not everyone can be both,” said the host. “He’s the kind of guy who sets starts the timer on the bomb, then turns around, and is like: ‘Jesus, this sicko only gave us three minutes. We have to get out of here.’”
Noah summarized the behind-the-scenes government tension: “So Trump was threatening Mexico, and Mexico was, in turn, threatening US businesses, and then US businesses were in turn threatening the GOP, and then the GOP was threatening Trump. Goddamn.” Adding that Trump was always going to lose a fight like this, Noah recapped the risk to his audience: “You never get into a Mexican standoff with actual Mexicans.”
However, Trump has continued to try to save face in the media by tweeting there is a secret deal that has not been publicized yet. To this, Noah said: “Ooh, a secret deal. This is so exciting. Like I wonder what it is… What, is America is making Mexico the 51st state, huh?” In a Trump impersonation, Noah responded as Trump presumably would in light of a grandiose deal like this: “Be like: ‘Folks, they can’t sneak into the country if they’re already in the country. Problem solved.’”