Stephen Colbert was moved to tears talking about the press briefing on Thursday during which President Donald Trump claimed the 2020 presidential election was being “stolen” from him.
“The president came out into the White House briefing room and lied for 15 minutes, just nonsensical stuff about illegal vote dumps and corrupt election officials and secret Democratic counting cabals and, I don’t know, long-form birth certificates probably. It’s all the same,” the host of “The Late Show” said, who was symbolically clothed in all-black.
“For weeks, we have been talking about how there’d be a red mirage and how all those outstanding Biden mail-in ballots might let Joe catch up, and that Trump would probably then come out around, I don’t know, Thursday, maybe evening news time and pretend that he won and accuse everybody else of cheating. The guy does not have another gear, get a new act.”
“We all knew he would do this,” Colbert added, hanging his head in a display of emotion. “What I didn’t know is that it would hurt so much. I didn’t expect this to break my heart.”
“For him to cast a dark shadow on our most sacred right, from the briefing room in the White House, our house, not his, that is devastating. This is heartbreaking for the same reason that I didn’t want him to get COVID. Certainly why I wanted him to survive because he is the president of the United States. That office means something and that office should have some shred of decency.”
“We always knew he would leave a stain there, and not just from his butt bronzer,” Colbert went on. “Because everything he did, everything, is now in some way presidential behavior—including this, unless every single person rejects what he just did. And that means, for all the predictable behavior of the last few days, last four years, right now something unpredictable needs to happen.”
Colbert then urged Republicans to speak out against Trump’s “evil,” and later called him a “fascist.”
— David Corn (@DavidCornDC) November 6, 2020
Trump held a press briefing on Thursday in which he alleged that he would be the winner of the 2020 presidential election if only “legal” votes were counted. He went on to claim that the Democratic Party had engaged in widespread voter fraud in an attempt to “rig” the election against him.
Major networks broke away from the president while he made such claims, with some trying to fact-check his allegations in real time.
As Trump gave his address, CNN’s caption read: “WITHOUT ANY EVIDENCE, TRUMP SAYS HE’S BEING CHEATED.”
Moreover, as The New York Times noted, the broadcast networks of ABC, CBS, and NBC cut away from Trump’s address entirely.
“We have to interrupt here, because the president made a number of false statements, including the notion that there has been fraudulent voting,” said Lester Holt, the “NBC Nightly News” anchor, adding, “There has been no evidence of that.”
ABC anchor David Muir chimed in, “there’s a lot to unpack here and fact-check.” And CBS correspondent Nancy Cordes also spent time “fact-checking” the president on-air.