Following President Trump‘s attempt to clarify remarks from his controversial press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin by using the now-infamous “double negative” excuse, The Late Show With Stephen Colbert revived animated educational show Schoolhouse Rock! to offer a true definition of that grammatical concept.
“Double negative, what’s your function?/ A desperate way to not side with the Russians,” the song opened. “Double negative, how’s that function?/ Confusing the people with sentence construction.”
The chipper tune continued with more examples that criticized Trump’s relationships with Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. “When you say something positive that’s horribly negative, add a little negative to make it positive!” the song explained. “For instance, ‘The president isn’t in Putin’s pocket; the president isn’t not in Putin’s pocket.’ Let’s try it again: ‘The president wasn’t owned by Kim Jong-un; the president wasn’t owned by Kim Jong-un…not.’ Or how about, ‘The president isn’t trustworthy.’ Well, let’s just let that one stand.”
The segment ended with one dig at the U.S. president’s grammar and politics: “Trump can’t never won’t tell the truth.”
Trump used his “double negative” line on Tuesday during an on-camera statement from the White House, over 24 hours after arriving home from his meeting with Putin in Helsinki, Finland. He originally said during a press conference, “I don’t see any reason why” Russia would have interfered in the 2016 presidential election. But he clarified on Tuesday that he meant to say, “I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be Russia.”