Late-night hosts across the board marked President Donald Trump’s final full day in office by recapping the insanity of the past four years and trying to parse what Trump’s legacy may be.
On The Late Show, Stephen Colbert opened by recounting some of the “highlights of [Trump’s] lowlights”: There was the “American carnage” inauguration speech, the “both sides” remarks after a white supremacist march in Charlottesville, wondering if he could trade Puerto Rico for Greenland, separating kids from their families at the border, inciting a riot at the Capitol and — maybe worst of all, Colbert joked — ruining the “Y.M.C.A.”
But for Colbert, the moment that epitomized Trump’s tenure was a speech he gave at the 2017 National Boy Scout Jamboree where, as Colbert recalled: “He told a story about a rich guy he knew, who had a yacht, and something about something that sounded like a sex party on a boat. It really summed up the past four years: You didn’t exactly know where he was going, or what he was talking about, but it made you feel dirty and you knew it was not good for children.”
On Jimmy Kimmel Live, Jimmy Kimmel wondered if being president was really worth it for Trump: “Six years ago, we were all perfectly fine to let him keep bumbling around New York pretending to be a billionaire,” he joked. “He could’ve been hosting golf tournaments, making T.G.I Friday’s commercials, playing this role he created of the wealthy tycoon… But now, most of the country despises him, most of the world despises him, we found out he pays no taxes, he has no money, he’s likely to face criminal charges in New York, nobody’ll do business with him, he can’t host a golf tournament, can’t even operate a carousel in his hometown anymore.”
Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show joked about Trump’s attempts to drum up a crowd for a “farewell ceremony” at Andrews Air Force Base this morning, reportedly offering guests plus-fives and even inviting Anthony Scaramucci. “It sounds like a great party,” Fallon deadpanned. “Guests have to arrive at 7:15 in the morning on a Wednesday, in the middle of January, during a pandemic — even Craigslist actors were like, ‘Pass.’”
On Late Night, Seth Meyers marveled at how Trump managed to get so unpopular, joking that if he’d spent “four years golfing, ranting about low-flush toilets, and letting the experts do their job, there’d be a good chance he’d be setting off for a retirement of paid speeches and toilet endorsement deals.” He added, “Instead: Trump will go down in history as a disgraced, sadistic con artist who left the nation in ruins. He’s less popular than Bush, he’s broken more laws than Nixon, he’s got a worse jobs record than Hoover and he leans like a house blown over in a storm that Jimmy Carter would have to fix.”
Finally, on The Daily Show, Trevor Noah saved a few words for those who propped up Trump, from other Republicans to conservative media to social media outlets that only recognized the danger of right-wing violence tormenting on their platforms after it happened. While Noah said he hoped Trump would “fade away like one of his tans,” he cracked, “I know he’ll never fully be gone — he’s basically the Covid of politics. America’s gonna be experiencing side effects long after he’s out of the system… But I do hope that with him at least not being president, we can all get back to being a bit more honest with each other, and more nuanced in how we talk about what divides us.”