Stephen Colbert highlighted the worrying testimony of ousted public health official Rick Bright — and President Donald Trump’s attempts to drag the spotlight away from his depiction of how the government has handled the COVID-19 crisis — on The Late Show Thursday.
Bright, the former director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, filed a whistleblower complaint last week claiming he was ousted from the agency after opposing the treatment of coronavirus with the malaria drug chloroquine. While testifying before Congress, Bright painted a bleak picture of a response that lacked any leadership and warned of “the darkest winter in modern history” if the United States did not develop an adequate response and testing regimen.
“He was really driving home the darkest winter point,” Colbert noted, “as was his lawyer, Jon Snow, Esquire.”
Trump was quick to try to undermine Bright, claiming on Twitter that he had no idea who Bright was, but that he was nevertheless “a disgruntled employee.” “That’s quite a preamble,” Colbert quipped, before busting out his Trump impression: “‘Before I assassinate this guy’s character, let me first say, I have no idea what I’m talking about.'”
Meanwhile, in his interactions with the press, Trump has been insisting that the virus is under control, that a vaccine will arrive soon and, as he told Fox Business, that the 85,000+ death toll could’ve been a lot worse if his administration had acted differently. “Yes, the number of dead is actually unthinkable,” Colbert joked in his Trump voice. “But, to be fair, how about a little gratitude — I didn’t kill all of you, and that was definitely an option.”