Donald Trump has made it easy for late-night humorists. Even his staunchest defenders would admit that, given his brash style and considerable ego.
That hasn’t been the case lately.
The president has been piling up the wins of late: thawing relations with North Korea, oodles of strong economic news, and the release of three American hostages from the clutches of Kim Jong-un.
The media is treating all of the above with a restraint you didn’t see during the Obama years. Each of the aforementioned “wins” would be embraced with massive media narratives had Obama still lived at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW.
“Healer in Chief.” “Rescuer in Chief.” “Economist in Chief.” It’s hard to forget eight years of media fawning.
So some late-night comics were potentially caught off guard by the latest wave of positive headlines tied to Team Trump. Two hosts persevered all the same.
They used the hostage release story against the first family.
Let’s start with Stephen Colbert, the man who unofficially kicked of late-night’s “resistance.” Colbert used his Thursday monologue to state the obvious (with teeth clenched?):
“I give the president a lot of the business, you know, I hit him with the zingers, but it’s nice when you see good things happen in Trump’s America,” Colbert said. “For instance, early this morning, the three American hostages freed by North Korea landed safely in the United States. That’s great news.”
That’s where any fair observer might stop. Not Colbert. He’s got his marching orders.
“The president was there to meet the freed men—along with Melania, who is hoping to be freed next,” Colbert continued. “It’s too long. Too long.”
Claiming a woman can’t make up her own mind, or choose the partner she desires, is hardly a feminist position. Just don’t go looking to late-night comics for woke consistency.
Not to be outdone, Jimmy Kimmel used the same headlines with similar results.
“This is a major diplomatic win for the president,” Kimmel said. “You know, the last time Trump brought a prisoner back from a foreign country, she became first lady and that worked out great.”
Once upon a time (2016), comedians didn’t lay a glove on first ladies. They were mostly off-limits to stinging political jabs, and for good reason. They didn’t run for office. They simply supported their spouses for their respective runs.
The first ladies, in turn, avoided partisan sniping for initiatives aimed at both red and blue states, no matter how effective they ultimately proved.
Now, Melania Trump is not only a ripe target for crude sexual taunts, she’s available to be weaponized by comedians taking a break from those “Trump has Cheetos colored skin!” gags that weren’t clever the first 20 times.