John Oliver once begged Donald Trump to run for President: ‘I’m an idiot’

The British satirical news host has one final message for those who haven't cast their vote

Heather Saul
Monday 07 November 2016 11:08 GMT
John-Oliver (Getty)

John Oliver committed himself to always holding Donald Trump to account on his HBO show as soon as the reality TV star stepped forward as a prospective future President of the United States.

What few will know is that he was also among a chorus of voices encouraging him to run, albeit not because of how their political beliefs align.

Throughout a stormy election campaign characterised by its ugliness and its controversies, Oliver has delivered repeated warnings about voting for a man who has suggested the election is being rigged, has promised to use tax payer money to build a huge wall, has suggested Syrian refugees could be a fifth column sent by Isis and has been accused of sexual assault or harassment by various women, all of which he has denied.

On Sunday, the British Last Week Tonight host used his satirical news show to deliver one final message to the US electorate before they choose their next President on 8 November and bring an end to “this nightmare of a campaign”.

“This election hasn’t so much appealed to our better angels as it has groped our better angels, mocked their weight, and called them ‘sixes at best'," said Oliver. "We are at a point where this man has a genuine shot at the presidency despite having blown up a political party, undermined confidence in our electoral system, declares open season on journalists, and unleashed a river of racism and misogyny. Also, and I feel like we’ve lost sight of this: He has really stupid hair.”

Then Oliver, who once compared Mr Trump to America’s back mole ("It may have seemed harmless a year ago, but now that it's gotten frighteningly bigger, it is no longer wise to ignore it”) had a confession to make. He took the audience back to his guest slot on The Daily Show three years ago, where he made a plea to Mr Trump which has come back to haunt him: to run for President. “Do it. Do it. Look at me. Do it. I will personally write you a campaign check now on behalf of this country which does not want you to be President but which badly wants you to run.”

“I’m an idiot,” admitted Oliver. “But that clearly shows no outcome is certain, so if you are thinking you don’t have to show up to vote on Tuesday because there is no way the impossible could happen, take it from somebody who has learned from painful experience: You are wrong about that.”

The warnings about a Trump administration have been coming thick and fast in recent days. Latest polls are showing Hillary Clinton ahead in Ohio and Mr Trump holding a seven-point lead in Iowa and a once ridiculed scenario is now taking on a grim reality, forcing people to suspend their disbelief. “The whole world is laughing at us right now,” Madonna told her fans on Sunday. “All politicians lie. All. Even our most beloved and esteemed. Can we please get off the email scenario and focus on the bigger picture? “Wake up people - this is not a reality show. I appreciate his charm and entertainment value but he is not qualified to be a head of state! Facts! Vote Clinton or we are all f**ked.”

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