Comedian Jon Stewart made a surprise guest appearance this week on CBS’s “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” delivering an eight-minute segment addressed to US President Donald Trump in which he blasts the American leader’s “gleeful cruelty and dickishness” in every policy undertaking.
Stewart, who left the popular “The Daily Show” in 2015 after a 16-year run, has appeared a number of times both on the show he formerly hosted (now led by Trevor Noah) and on Colbert’s late-night show over the past three years.
On Thursday, he popped out from under the desk on “The Late Show,” which has been fiercely critical of Trump, to cheers and applause from the audience.
“Hello, Donald,” Stewart began, “it’s me, the guy you made sure everyone knew was Jewish on Twitter,” in reference to an April 2013 tweet in which Trump denigrated the Jewish comedian and brought up his birth-name, Jonathan Leibowitz. Stewart saw the move as racist and has previously intimated that the president might be anti-Semitic.
Stewart goes on to suggest that many Americans were “having trouble adjusting” to his presidency “as it goes into its 500th year.” The comedian and satirist then places his face in his hands in dismay before explaining that “everything is off its axis…[Russian President Vladimir] Putin and [North Korea’s] Kim Jong Un are noble, intelligent role models, and Canada is a bunch of giant assholes.”
Stewart was referencing Trump’s niceties with North Korea and Russia, despite its interference in the 2016 presidential elections and the campaign’s alleged collusion with Moscow in the lead-up to the vote which is under federal investigation.
“You’re redoing the post-war alliances, only this time, we’re with the Axis powers,” which consisted of Nazi Germany, Italy, and Japan, Stewart told Trump.
“One hallmark to your presidency we’re finding the most difficult is that no matter what you do, it always comes with an extra layer of gleeful cruelty and dickishness,” Stewart said to applause, noting his tendency to humiliate and denigrate his perceived foes — African-American athletes, women who have accused him of sexual assault, the media, members of the Republican party who oppose him — “even if they have a terminal disease,” a reference to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) who is battling brain cancer.
Stewart then turns to the issue of immigration and the Trump administration’s policy of separating children from their parents at the US-Mexico border and jailing them separately, which caused such a national and international outcry that the president was forced to sign an executive order ending the practice.
“Boy, you f*cked that up!” Stewart said. “Donald, you could have absolutely made a more stringent border policy, that would have made your point about enforcement, but I guess it wouldn’t have felt right without a Dickensian level of villainy.”
The comedian then cracked a few jokes about gold toilets, Fox News, and Hawaii (Barack Obama’s home state), but said he would draw the line at “turning cruelty into virtue.”
Citing the 1860 Abraham Lincoln speech in which he said that the acceptance of slavery as a line the Northern states would not cross, Stewart said: “What Donald Trump wants is for us to stop calling his cruelty and fear and divisiveness wrong and to join him in calling it right. And this we cannot do.”
“And by not yielding we will prevail,” Stewart concluded to wild applause and cheers. “Unless, of course, the Democratic leadership continues to be a bunch of feckless…” he went on, cut off by Colbert who pops back up to interrupt him. The bit was a reference to the controversy earlier this month, in which fellow comedian Samantha Bee called Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter, a “feckless c**t” on her show “Full Frontal” for not intervening to have her father end the family separation policy.
Trump had called for Bee to be fired for using the vulgar term. She apologized for the remark.
Both Bee and Colbert were cast members on the “Daily Show.”
Stewart’s segment on Colbert’s show has been circulating widely, taking in over two million views on YouTube and some 1.9 million on Facebook.
Last summer, Stewart, who is Jewish, blasted Trump during an appearance in New York, appearing to intimate the US president is an anti-Semite.
Reacting to Trump’s comments on the August 11, 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, in which the president likened the neo-Nazis who marched there to left-wing anti-fascist activists, Stewart noted, “I don’t think everybody who likes him is a Nazi, but everybody who is a Nazi sure does seem to like him.”