For all the talk of division in the land, Donald Trump, it turns out, is bringing the country together, or at least the portion of it that is employed in hosting late-night talk shows.
They all agreed Thursday night that the 45th president’s first solo press conference that day was a spectacle worthy of much comment.
“Bat (stuff) crazy,” said Seth Meyers.
“Hurricane Trump happened. Again,” said Trevor Noah.
“Something you’d see before a pay-per-view boxing event,” said Jimmy Kimmel.
But, wait, there are more. “This was just him by himself,” said Stephen Colbert. “Evidently he didn’t even bring his meds with him.”
“Historically bizarre,” James Corden said. “I mean, it was bizarre even by Trump standards.”
“President Trump gave his first solo press conference today and all of America quietly moved to the other end of the subway car,” Meyers summed up. “‘Maybe he’ll just get off at the next stop.’”
So, okay, it was perhaps unorthodox, maybe even a little offputting in style. But there was substance, right? And you have to deal with the substance.
Item 1: Trump talked again about the November election, claiming incorrectly that his “306” electoral college votes gave him the biggest victory margin since Ronald Reagan’s. Actually, he got 304 votes, and an NBC reporter pointed out that his vote tally was behind those won by George H.W. Bush (426) and Barack Obama both times (365 and 332).
“You’re like somebody who wants a birthday month,” Meyers said. “Your birthday is over. Get to work.”
“He said Hillary Clinton’s name 11 times,” Corden said. “Even lovesick teenage boys are like, ‘Move on.’”
“Wait,” said Colbert, in a tone of wonder. “Do you think 306 is larger than 365? Wow, Betsy DeVos works quick.”
“If you can’t trust your president to get the right information on a Google-able fact,” Noah said, “then can you really trust him on the harder stuff, which, by the way, is everything else the president of the United States has to deal with?”
Item 2: When corrected by the reporter, Trump said others had given him the electoral college information.
“Reminds me of Harry Truman,” Colbert said, “who so famously said, ‘Look, I don’t know where it’s supposed to stop. I was given that buck.’”
Item 3: Trump fretted that the press would portray the news conference as him “ranting and raving.”
“What president hasn’t had to say ‘I’m not ranting and raving’?” asked Meyers. “Who could forget Lincoln’s Tirade at Gettysburg, or FDR’s fireside meltdowns, and of course, Ronald Reagan famously saying, ‘Mr Gorbachev, if you don’t tear down this (expletive) wall I’m gonna lose my (expletive)!'”
Item 4: Trump asked a black reporter to set up a meeting for him with the Congressional Black Caucus, after first asking her if the caucus members were friends of hers.
“‘And while you’re at it, by the way,’” Noah imagined Trump saying, “I’ve been trying to get in touch with Frederick Douglass. Can you invite him to the meeting, too?’”
Colbert, too, imagined Trump speaking: “‘Oh, you’re a black woman. Could you talk to the Congressional Black Caucus? … You know what? Forget it. I’ll have Ben Carson do it.’”
“It’s racist to assume all black people know each other,” Meyers said. “You don’t know all orange people. ‘Hey, Donald, can you set up a meeting with Snooki and the Lorax?’”
Item 5: The president talked again about how he is great for TV ratings.
“‘The Bachelor’ also gets great ratings,” Jimmy Fallon said. “That doesn’t mean Nick should be president.”
Item 6: This litany could go on, but — with the memory of President Trump having invoked the possibility of a nuclear holocaust still rattling around in our skulls — we’ll call it a night with this one. Trump said that when he came into office, he had “inherited a mess.”
“No,” said Colbert. “You inherited a fortune. We elected a mess.”