President Donald Trump made headlines on Monday when he asserted that he would have rushed into Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School to help during the school shooting earlier this month that killed 17 people - even if he didn't have a gun.
During a White House meeting with governors from across the country, Trump criticised former Broward County sheriff's deputy Scot Peterson, who stayed outside of the school during the 14 February shooting in Parkland, Florida. Peterson has since resigned. He has also defended himself, saying through his lawyer that he thought the gunfire was outside, not inside, a building on the school's campus.
Trump feels like he would have done a better job.
“I really believe I'd run in there, even if I didn't have a weapon,” he said.
The comment was greeted predictably, with disgust, jokes and insults across social media networks. Late-night took aim at the President's comments on Monday.
The first words out of Stephen Colbert's mouth after welcoming his audience to CBS's The Late Show were, “Donald Trump has been President for over a year now.”
“At this point, I go to bed every night believing there's nothing he could say or do that could possibly surprise me,” Colbert added. “Then the sun comes up, and it happened again today.”
He proceeded to show the clip of Trump claiming he would have “run in” to the high school during the shooting.
“There's a lot in there that I doubt, but the part that I really don't believe is that he can run,” Colbert said. “Sir, we already know how you react to combat situations. You got five deferments from Vietnam. What are you going to do, run in there and stab them with your bone spurs?”
Colbert then suggested that if Trump was going to “live in a fantasy world,” he should “at least make it interesting.”
The comic then impersonated Trump to offer an example of a more interesting fantasy.
“Even if I had a gun, I would have dropped it just to show how tough I was,” said Colbert-as-Trump. “Then I would have run in and hit the shooter with my laser-beam eyes, then use my mind like Neo in The Matrix and fly away to space Mar-a-Lago. Space-A-Lago.”
Colbert then took aim at White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. He showed a clip of her defending Trump's remarks, in which she said he “was just stating that as a leader he would have stepped in and hopefully been able to help as a number of individuals in the school... stepped up and helped protect other students. I think the point he was making is that he would have wanted to play a role in that as well.”
“So Trump's got all kinds of fantasies about what he would have done in that school,” Colbert said.
He then pretended to be Sanders and offered another answer: “The President believes he would have had a big role in the school if he were a student there. He'd be captain of the football team, probably dating the hottest girl. The other kids would call him Big Donnie. He would sit at the cool lunch table, but in the end he surprises the nerds when he shows up to help them win the state spelling bee.”
“Yes, next question,” Colbert-as-Sanders added.
Seth Meyers on NBC's Late Night has long been one of Trump's fiercest critics on the light-night circuit through segments such as “A Closer Look.” Trump's comments on Monday, he said, convinced him to begin a new segment.
The title: “It Slowly Dawns On Seth that this Man is Our President.”
The segment lasted 12 seconds. The first 10 simply showed Meyers making a number of faces that ran the gamut from shocked to sad to uncomfortable laughter.
Finally, he spoke.
“This man is our President,” he said.
The segment closed, and Meyers threw a few of his characteristic insults at Trump.
“I gotta say, I find it hard to believe Trump would voluntarily run inside a place of education,” Meyers said. He added, “The only way you would run inside is if a reporter asked you a question outside.”
Toward the end of a segment about the shooting on Comedy Central's The Daily Show, Trevor Noah played the now infamous Trump clip, then simply sat for a moment with his mouth agape as the audience burst out laughing.
“To be fair, if Donald Trump ran into a school during a shooting, I do believe he would actually stop the shooting,” Noah said. “Because imagine you're a school shooter, and Donald Trump appears in the hallway. How distracting would that be?”
Noah then assumed his Trump impersonation and imagined what Trump would say if he indeed wandered into a school during a shooting.
“That's right. It's me, Donald Trump,” Noah-as-Trump said. “I don't have a gun, but what I do have is an amazing electoral college victory. They said I couldn't win... but I did it.”
“For real, though?” Noah said. “It would be ridiculous coming from anyone, but especially from Trump. He's gonna run in? Yo, when Trump ran for President, that was the first time he ran in his entire life.”
Noah closed the segment with one more reason he thinks Trump would never try to stop a shooting: a story Trump told on the Howard Stern Show in 2008.
“He's the same guy who proudly tells this story,” Noah said, then played the clip.
“I'll tell you what happened,” Trump said in the interview with Stern. “I was a Mar-a-Lago, and we had this incredible ball. A man about 80 years old, very wealthy man, a lot of people didn't like him. He fell off the stage. So what happens is this guy falls off right on his face, hits his head, and I thought he died. And you know what I did? I said, 'Oh my God. That's disgusting.' And I turned away. He's bleeding all over the place. I felt terrible. You know, beautiful marble floor didn't look so good. It changed colour, became very red.”
“Really? That guy?” Noah said. “That guy was going to run in and stop a school shooter? Get the f*** out of here, man.”
The Washington Post
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