Late-night hosts reacted to the mass shootings that devastated communities in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton Ohio, slamming President Donald Trump, calling for gun control and urging lawmakers to “fucking do something” in the wake of the devastation.
The Late Night host Seth Meyers called Trump “the racist uncle at the family gathering” who is incapable of unifying the nation due to the “racist vitriol he’s spewed since he launched his campaign.”
“It’s hard to take anything he reads off a teleprompter seriously after all his previous comments,” Meyers said. “All decent people, everywhere, should set themselves to the task of stopping this and expressing solidarity with and support for the oppressed and marginalized communities targeted by this hatred and violence.”
He said “our political leaders should have to answer for where they stand on these issues” and argued that the NRA’s grip on Republican politicians is keeping them from doing something to address gun violence, despite the fact that the NRA had nothing to do with the attacks.
“These guys have to pretend this is some sort of unsolvable problem because they’re beholden to powerful lobbies like gun manufacturers and the NRA,” Meyers said while dismissing critiques of violent video games. “You’re blaming video games?! You do know that other countries have video games too, right? Japan has a huge gaming culture and very few gun deaths. If video games were so influential, they should make one about Congress called ‘Fucking Do Something.’”
Late Show host Stephen Colbert declared that “America’s gun culture is melting down” and took direct aim at McConnell for refusing to bring the House-approved universal background check measure to a vote.
“Well, I think at this point it’s clear that America’s gun culture is melting down. But the Republicans in Congress would rather maintain their power than save lives,” Colbert said. “I’m sure he [McConnell] has his reasons, like the $1.26 million in NRA contributions he has received. You can’t put a price on human life, but it doesn’t stop Mitch from trying.”
Despite laying much of the blame at McConnell’s feet, Colbert also slammed Trump and dismissed his condemnation of “sinister ideologies” like white supremacism and racism.
“I try my best every night, but you’re still in office,” Colbert said in response to Trump’s remarks.
The Jimmy Kimmel Live! host, who is no stranger to wading in political waters, told his audience that he continuously feels compelled to use his platform to speak out on heavy topics.
“You watch the news all day, you see what’s going on, how do you walk on stage and ignore it? It just doesn’t work anymore,” Kimmel said. “I wish I could. It’s hard for me to talk about serious subjects. It takes a lot out of me. I do want to be funny. That’s fun. It’s not fun doing anything like that.”
“I think that they want to know what you think in the same way that when you interact with your friends they want to know what they think about things,” he said of viewers. “I wish we didn’t have to do it so frequently.”
He acknowledged that he serves as a left-wing echo chamber, noting that he does not “have any thoughts that are new or groundbreaking” and proceeded to talk about the “gun show loophole,” even though that had nothing to do with either of the shootings.
“My hope, always, in situations like that, is…I know I don’t have any thoughts that are new or groundbreaking and usually by the time we get on the air there’s been 24 to 48 hours of news coverage, but to just remind people that 97 percent of Americans believe that we should have background checks for purchases at gun shows and our politicians don’t seem to care what we think anymore,” he said.
97% of Americans agree that we need universal background checks. Tell #MassacreMitch @SenateMajLdr & @RealDonaldTrump to DO something about it. @MomsDemand https://t.co/jjdLgSceBx pic.twitter.com/nJmIWoPcZs
— Jimmy Kimmel (@jimmykimmel) August 6, 2019
The Daily Show host took his criticism a step further than the rest and spoke of the Second Amendment directly, assessing that it is “fundamentally about protecting human beings.”
“What is the good of writing a law that now protects the guns as opposed to the human beings that it’s supposed to protect?” he asked, encouraging the U.S. to just “try” some form of gun control.
“All of these other things that people bring up still have a country that tries to stop them,” he said. “Trying is the thing. Medical errors happen, but they have tried to decrease medical errors by implementing new laws, new systems.”
“People run to the extremes,” he continued. “They’ll be like, ‘Oh, after 9/11, 3,000 people died, America didn’t ban airplanes!’ Yeah, but they locked that shit up hard.”
“It’s not about perfect, it’s about trying to be more perfect,” he added, maintaining that he is not saying “get rid of guns” completely.
“You’re not saying get rid of guns, you’re saying try to minimize the chances of this happening,” he said. “Try to make it as hard as possible for people to own a gun, because you only want people who are willing to work hard to own a gun to own a gun. You only want people who respect a gun to own a gun.”
He also took shots at Trump, despite the president’s unifying address to the American people Monday.
“I know it’s crazy to take Trump’s words seriously, but some people do,” Noah said. “In fact, as we’ve learned, the mass shooter in El Paso left behind a manifesto that included the same phrases Trump uses every day — ‘fake news,’ ‘immigrant invasions.’ In fact, the only reason you know it wasn’t written by Trump is because the grammar was correct.”
It is true that the manifesto attributed to the El Paso shooter was filled with racist vitriol, but no link exists between President Trump’s positions and the shooter’s heinous actions. The author of the manifesto claimed that he formed his twisted outlook long before the Trump-era. Additionally, the Dayton, Ohio, shooter appeared to be an avowed leftist who promoted the infamous “concentration camp” narrative. He was also “anti-Second Amendment,” according to the shooter’s former friend, so it remains unclear why celebrities, lawmakers, and left-wing late-show hosts continue to blame the president and president alone.