On Monday night after the weekend’s violence by white supremacists in Charlottesville, VA, late night hosts Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, James Corden, Seth Meyers and Stephen Colbert condemned white power hatred and the President Trump‘s inappropriately meek response to it.
“Although this isn’t a political show, it’s my responsibility to stand up against intolerance and extremism as a human being,” said Fallon. “It’s important for everyone, especially white people, in this country, to speak out against this,” he added. “Ignoring it is just as bad as supporting it.”
Fallon’s monologue was the most personal of the late-night circuit, talking about the 32-year-old woman who was killed by white supremacists in the same sentence as his two young daughters. Fallon poignantly repeated, “we can’t go backward.”
On The Late Show, Stephen Colbert opened with a heartfelt message of support for the families of the 32-year-old woman who was killed, and two police officers who died when their helicopter crashed. While the host said it was difficult to express how heartbreaking it was to see such violence happening in the United States, he quickly turned his anger on Trump and his soft response.
“He’s known for criticizing things,” Colbert said of Trump. “If only the president was as mad about neo-Nazis murdering people in the streets as he’s been about Hillary Clinton, The New York Times, CNN, Joe Scarborough, Kristen Stewart, the cast of Hamilton, Diet Coke, Nordstrom’s not selling his daughter’s clothes, Arnold Schwarzenegger, the mayor of London Sadiq Khan, me, the state of New Hampshire, Gold Star families, Penn Jillette’s Las Vegas show, the movie Django Unchained, Meryl Streep and lady Ghostbusters.“
Jimmy Kimmel’s open was more acidic. “We went into the weekend wondering if Kim Jong-un was starting a war, we came out of it wondering if our President is cutting eyeholes out of his bedsheets.” Kimmel slammed Trump for saying that violence had taken place on “many sides” – “there were two sides, not many sides, and one of those sides had Nazis on it.” When Trump denounced white supremacists two days later, Kimmel said he sounded like “a kid whose parents made him apologize for egging their neighbor’s house.”
Trump’s delayed condemnation Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan also struck James Corden. “Trump condemned Nazis today the way my four-year-old son does when I ask him to put dishes in the dishwasher.” Corden emphasized the point by listing all the people “Trump condemned faster than [nazis],” including Meryl Streep, James Comey and a disabled reporter.
Corden ended his monologue with a plea to a younger generation. “I hope that any kids who were watching family members on TV over the weekend and are now seeing those people be shamed and reviled will realize that there is a better future possible.”
Seth Meyers looked towards a “better future” in his monologue – a world in which American voters elect a leader who is not a bigot. Meyers directly addressed President Trump. “You can stand for a nation; you can stand for a hateful movement; you can’t do both,” he asserted. “And if you don’t make the right choice, I’m confident that the American voter will.”