Stephen Colbert opened The Late Show on Wednesday by briefly and obliquely addressing the accusations of homophobia that have been leveled against him this week. He became the target of backlash on social media after delivering an insult-laced tirade against President Trump on Monday, during which Colbert declared that “the only thing [President Trump’s] mouth is good for is being Vladimir Putin’s cock holster.”
On Wednesday, The Late Show-host did not back away from the core mission of his original harangue: attacking the president. “At the end of that monologue, I had a few choice insults for the president,” he explained. “I don’t regret that.”
But he admitted that he would have altered some of his phrasing. “While I would do it again, I would change a few words that were cruder than they needed to be,” Colbert said.
“Life is short,” he added, “and anyone who expresses their love for another person in their own way is, to me, an American hero.”
On Monday, Colbert used The Late Show to hit back at Trump for cutting short an interview with a CBS colleague, John Dickerson. Trump and Dickerson were conversing amiably enough until the reporter pressed the president on his unsubstantiated and oft-repeated claims that President Obama had him wiretapped in 2016. At this point, Trump grew irritable and brought the interview to an abrupt close.
Colbert came to Dickerson’s defense like a bruiser protecting another player on his hockey team. “You attract more skinheads than free Rogaine,” Colbert asserted, aiming his comments directly at the president. “You have more people marching against you than cancer. You talk like a sign-language gorilla that got hit in the head.” Then he added the Putin comment.
This is not the first time Colbert has been accused of callousness on the air. As Variety points out, the #CancelColbert hashtag arose in 2014 after Colbert made comments perceived as insulting to Asians and Asian-Americans.