Late-night hosts freaked out over President Donald Trump’s summit with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, describing the meeting as “treasonous” and an attempt to sell out American democracy.
Trump met with Putin in Helsinki on Monday, a decision he defended as “bold American diplomacy,” adding that their relationship had improved as a result. When asked by the media to directly criticize Putin over allegations of election interference, Trump declined to do so.
“I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today,” he said.
Late Show host Stephen Colbert claimed that Trump’s meeting had “shaken” him to his core.
“Thank you for that,” he said after a round of applause. “I need that tonight in ways I don’t always need it because today has shaken me to my core. And I don’t think I need to point out that, at 54, there’s not a lot of core left. It’s a nice suit. It gives me the illusion of core.”
“Before we get into whether our president is the Siberian Candidate, I’d like take a moment right now to remind you of something Lincoln said: ‘America will never be destroyed from the outside,” he continued. “If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.’ And: ‘A house divided against itself cannot stand.’ They were his two most famous tweets.
“So, with that in mind, I’m thinking that maybe in the interest of unity, the most patriotic thing we can do right now is not pointing out the alarming behavior of our president, but instead just shut up and take it until he’s gone. Does anybody feel like taking it?”
Meanwhile, Jimmy Kimmel suggested it was now beyond “treasonable doubt” that Putin has compromising information on Donald Trump.
“Today was maybe the strangest of all 542 bizarre days of Donald Trump’s reign of error. Today may have been the weirdest,” Kimmel said, before showing a clip of Trump walking alongside Queen Elizabeth II.
“But that turned out to be nothing compared to what happened in Finland this morning. Helsinki has frozen over,” Kimmel continued. “The president of the United States publicly sided with Russia over our own FBI on the subject of cyber attacks on our election campaign. Trump had a meeting today with his KGBFF, Vladimir Putin, and in an interview with CBS yesterday he said he was going into this meeting with low expectations. We all were.”
Kimmel then played a clip of Trump saying he could not see “any reason” why Russia would interfere in the 2016 presidential election as has been alleged.
“Well, I guess that settles it,” Kimmel said. “There you go. If you’re wondering whether or not Vladimir Putin has an incriminating video of Donald Trump, we now know beyond a treasonable doubt that he does. He better.”
Over on Late Night With Seth Meyers, Meyers accused Trump of “selling out our democracy.”
“So just to recap, Trump blamed the U.S. for Russian aggression, attacked the FBI and the special counsel’s investigation, took Putin’s side on election meddling, attacked Democrats and Hillary Clinton with Putin standing next to him, and said Putin was strong and powerful,” Meyers declared.
“Can you imagine what their private meeting was like? I’m worried he let Putin annex one of the 50 states. ‘Here is an electoral map, pick one of the blue ones.’ Seriously, Trump gushes over Putin like a flustered 12-year-old who just met Mickey at Disneyland.”
“On top of everything else, today a Russian woman who tried to broker a pair of secret meeting between Trump and Putin was charged and accused of working with Americans to carry out a secret Russian effort to influence American politics,” he added. “So while that was happening, Trump was doing everything he could to ingratiate himself with Putin. He’s selling out our democracy.”
Daily Show host Trevor Noah also offered his own hot take, saying that Trump had become a “cheerleader” to Putin’s regime after Trump praised his “incredible” offer to allow Russian investigators to work on the allegations of election manipulation.
“Really? You don’t see any reason not to trust Vladimir Putin?” Noah asked. “The man was a top KGB spy. He’ll steal the shirt off your back. Hell, he stole the shirt off his own back. You can’t trust this man.”
“It’s pretty wild for the President of the United States to defend Russia against the United States,” he continued. “It’s like seeing your team’s cheerleader pumping up the other side. It’s like, ‘Go, team! But also their team. Both teams, but mostly their team.”