Following Trump’s disastrous press conferences in response to Charlottesville, GOP lawmakers like Tennessee senator Bob Corker publicly criticized Trump. “I’ve known for weeks that Trump is a terrible president,” Franken joked.
“There are a number of Republican senators who have been saying from the beginning that they have a lot of doubts about him but won’t go public with that because he still has 80-some percent of his base behind him, and that’s their base,” Franken said. “So politically, they’re unwilling to go public. And there some people who said ‘There’s nothing good about neo-Nazis, etc.’ but wouldn’t blame Trump.”
However, Franken pledged to work in bipartisan ways to fix health care and lower pharmaceutical prices.
The senator added, “This week was unbelievably horrible. It was a tragic week. But I don’t think [Trump] changes.”
Franken’s appearance came just hours after the Trump administration parted ways with advisor Steve Bannon, the architect of the president’s nationalist views.
“Is that going to make a difference? The problem with this administration is Trump, and it’s going to continue,” Franken said. “We’ve heard this. ‘When [Chief of Staff John] Kelly comes in, everything will be fine.’ And boom, he threatens nuclear war.”
Franken’s Real Time appearance marked his first time on Bill Maher’s HBO show since the host’s racial slur controversy in June. The senator was scheduled to appear on Maher’s first Real Time following the incident but canceled over the “inappropriate and offensive” slur. Franken added, however, that he considered Maher “a good friend.”