Stephen Colbert roasts George Bush after Ukraine speech gaffe

‘That is a refreshingly lighthearted confession to war crimes,’ late-night host said

Louis Chilton
Friday 20 May 2022 08:01
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George Bush bungles speech condemning Putin invasion with Iraq reference

Stephen Colbert has mocked George W Bush after the former US president’s gaffe during a speech in Dallas.

On Wednesday (18 May), Bush accidentally condemned the “brutal” and “unjustified” invasion of Iraq, before correcting himself to say he meant the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“Political opponents are imprisoned or otherwise eliminated from participating in the electoral process. The result is an absence of checks and balances in Russia and the decision of one man to launch a wholly unjustified and brutal invasion of Iraq... I mean of Ukraine,” Bush said, before laughing off the blunder and blaming his age.

He also appeared to say “Iraq too” under his breath, in what some have interpreted as a joke.

On his late-night talk show, US comedian and TV host Colbert addressed the verbal snafu, describing it as a “Freudian slip”.

“Jiminy Christmas,” Colbert said. “The one phrase he should definitely never utter for the rest of his life! It’s like he’s thinking about it all the time and it just popped out.”

“Thankfully, Dubya caught himself and did a quick course correct,” he continued, before playing the portion of the clip in which Bush said: “Iraq too.”

“Iraq too? That is a refreshingly lighthearted confession to war crimes,” he said. “I guess we should call of the search for the WMDs at this point, somebody owes Saddam Hussein an edible arrangement.”

Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky fared much better during his own speech at the opening ceremony for Cannes film festival this week.

Zelensky appeared by video link at the opening event for the 75th annual event at the Palais des Festivals on Tuesday (17 May).

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Speaking from Kyiv as the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues, Zelensky told the attendees that it is “necessary for cinema not to be silent”.

In his speech, which was translated live into French, Zelensky told filmmakers that they couldn’t be complacent and stand by as war raged.

He also quoted Charlie Chaplin’s 1940 film The Great Dictator, saying: “The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish.”

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