Late night TV talk show hosts express anger and frustration at the violence at the US Capitol, offering somber monologues that plead for unity even as some aim pointed barbs at those they held responsible for the mobs’ actions.
“It was a terrible day in the history of this country,” says Jimmy Kimmel on his ABC show Wednesday. Over on CBS, Stephen Colbert calls it “a horrifying day that will go down in US history, however much longer that is.”
“If my grandfather were alive today and saw what was happening in the country that he fought for, he’d be disgusted,” says Jimmy Fallon on NBC. “People walking around with the flag upside down thinking they’re patriotic. Today was not patriotism. Today was terrorism.”
James Corden, who grew up in England, uses the perspective of an outsider to view the events, saying he always looked to the United States as a beacon of light and possibility.
“Today, people across the world would have looked at these pictures from Washington and they would have wondered what on earth has happened to this great country,” Corden says on CBS. But he adds “the America that they admire still exists.”
Kimmel ridicules some members of the mob, including one dressed as a Viking. “It was like a psychotic ‘Price is Right’ audience forcibly taking control of the Plinko wheel,” Kimmel says. He condemns those who “lit these fires.”
Colbert’s 14-minute monologue is the most scathing, calling out Trump’s most outspoken GOP supporters in Congress and the Senate for what he alleged were years of sowing the seeds for violence.
“After five years of coddling this president’s fascist rhetoric, guess whose followers want to burn down the Reichstag?” he says. “Who could have seen this coming? Everyone. This is the most shocking, most tragic, least surprising thing I’ve ever seen.”
Several hosts wryly note the relatively restrained reaction from authorities and compare that to the way Black protesters have been treated.
“I wouldn’t even want to imagine his treatment or response to those people if they had been wearing Black Lives Matter hats instead of red MAGA ones,” Corden says.