Somehow President Trump has turned a question about four U.S. soldiers dying in Niger into a weeklong blowup about his respect for fallen service members and his predecessors, Trevor Noah marveled on Thursday's Daily Show. By the sound of it, families who lost a child or spouse in combat "may start out hoping that the president would reach out, and they end up wishing that they had let his calls go to voicemail," he said, recapping the saga involving Trump's call to the family of Army Sgt. La David Johnson.
"Now look, in Trump's defense — and I know people don't like hearing that phrase — Donald Trump is the worst at words," Noah said. "He was probably trying to convey a heartfelt message but instead the people interpreted it as him disrespecting the troops. That's what they said: He was trying something, and then people are now like, 'Donald Trump, you disrespected the troops!' I bet you wherever Colin Kaepernick is right now, he's probably like, 'Well, ain't that a bitch.'"
"Trump can't be faulted for not being articulate, but he can be blamed for making an unnecessary problem worse," Noah said. He acted out Trump's surly refusal to own his presumed verbal misfires and the stern response from a parental electorate, ending with a joke about accidents. Watch below. Peter Weber
Trevor Noah, in Chicago, thinks he knows why Trump and Fox News single the city out for gun violence
Trevor Noah began a weeklong "Daily Show Undesked" residency in Chicago on Monday by criticizing Chicago's "Windy City" nickname. But "there is another nickname for some people," Noah said, "and it's way worse than the Windy City — it's 'the murder capital.'" Chicago's violent reputation isn't just in the U.S., he noted, showing a clip from a South African cartoon of his youth, but in a new twist, the president of the United States is arguing that "Chicago is basically Syria, but with different pizza."
"This week we're in Chicago because we figured that Chicago is a microcosm for all the issues that the rest of the country faces," Noah said. And despite what President Trump says, it isn't really the most dangerous city in America. Chicago does have the most murders, he conceded, but it's also America's third-largest city; per capita, Memphis, St. Louis, Baltimore, and Cleveland are deadlier. "But no one's ever like, 'Oh, don't go to Cleveland!'" Noah said. "Well, I mean, they do, but not because of murder." So why are Trump and the right fixated on Chicago? "I get it," Noah said, after playing some Fox News clips featuring a certain former president. "When there's shootings, Obama's from Chicago; all the other times, he's from Kenya."
Murder and gun violence really are big problems in Chicago, Noah said, but Trump's imaginary crime-fighters and federalized police may not work as well as local community engagement. Correspondent Roy Wood Jr. walked around the South Side with a group called CeaseFire that tries to mediate conflicts before people turn to violence, with some success. Watch below. Peter Weber
"Trust me on this: Whether you're pro-life or pro-choice, everyone will be pro-this story, because it's hilarious," Trevor Noah said on Thursday's Daily Show, though Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.) probably disagrees. Noah recounted the tragicomic story of Murphy, a staunchly anti-abortion married congressman who, it emerged this week, allegedly urged his mistress to have an abortion. "The same week he puts up an abortion ban, this dude's timing could not be worse," he said.
It was just a scare — the mistress wasn't really pregnant — "which makes this even funnier," Noah said. "He didn't even wait a day to confirm it before he abandoned his entire belief system? Tim Murphy would make the world's worst spy!" After running through that scenario, which involved pizza and cyanide, Noah delivered the coup de grâce, Murphy blaming his staff for writing his pro-life statements. "Whether you are pro-choice or pro-life, I think we can all come together to laugh at this man," he said, noting that Murphy just tendered his resignation. "Ah, it's such a pity that Tim Murphy terminated his career before it came to term. Such a pity." He said it rather pitilessly. Watch below. Peter Weber
Before President Trump co-opted the phrase "fake news" to mean "news that he doesn't like," fake news was just that: "deliberately false stories posing as news," Trevor Noah reminded everyone on Wednesday's Daily Show. These false stories proliferated on non-traditional news sources like social media, which is a problem, because two-thirds of U.S. adults say they get at least some of their news via social media, he said. That's a particular problem for a man falsely accused of being the Las Vegas shooter, one of several fake news stories featured prominently on Google News and Facebook this week. Twitter's culpable, too.
It gets dicier, and more global, Noah said. "If there's one guaranteed way to make any situation worse, just sprinkle a little Russia over it." Facebook says more than 10 million people saw covert Russia-linked ads during the 2016 campaign, especially in Wisconsin and Michigan, he explained, but "regardless of your politics, the reason you should care about fake news online is because it's not just about Russians meddling in U.S. elections — it's about Russians working to divide everyone."
Noah brought out Senior American Correspondent Michael Kosta, who argued that Russia shouldn't be getting all the credit for dividing America, since "we have a rich history of dividing ourselves," but also suggested hitting Russia back with a "full-on meme war," with examples. Watch below. Peter Weber
Everyone in the U.S. is grappling with Sunday night's mass shooting in Las Vegas, where a 64-year-old rich white man with no known terrorism connections killed at least 58 people and wounded more than 520. "Right now, he doesn't fit any profile of any mass shooter," Trevor Noah said on Tuesday's Daily Show. "And you know who's having a hard time processing all of that information? The good people at Fox News."
"Since Sunday's shooting didn't fit any of Fox's established narratives, they couldn't politicize it," Noah explained. "And if they couldn't politicize it, then I guess neither should anyone else." He imagined trying to schedule a time to talk about gun laws with Fox News, only to find their schedule booked solid with Hillary email stories. But maybe they have a point, Noah said. "I mean, what kind of terrible people would push a political agenda the day after a mass shooting?" You can probably guess the answer, displayed in Fox News footage.
So either Fox News is being disingenuous with their no-politicizing plea, he said, or they're still trying to figure out how to politicize the mass shooting. "Yesterday, everyone on Fox News was flailing like Mariah Carey on New Year's Eve," except one man, Sean Hannity, Noah said. Unfortunately, "Hannity's fantasy was so ridiculous that even his Fox colleague couldn't get on board." Still, Noah did find some utility in Hannity's very specific set of skills. Watch below. Peter Weber
Trevor Noah LOLs at Steven Mnuchin, his comically 'out of touch' wife, and his boss Trump's tax plan
President Trump hasn't accomplished many of his goals yet, but the man steering his next big push, tax reform, is Treasury Secretary "and mildly satisfied LensCrafters customer" Steven Mnuchin, Trevor Noah said on Monday's Daily Show. He started his Mnuchin "profile in tremendousness" by explaining how a Goldman Sachs alumnus turned Hollywood producer and Democratic donor ended up on Trump's team. (Casually.) "Mnuchin may not have a a particularly impressive political resume, but you should see his IMDB page," Noah said. Only now he's less interested in producing Batman movies and more geared up to produce tax cuts for rich people like himself.
But you probably haven't heard Mnuchin's name mentioned in regards to tax cuts so much as his request for taxpayers to plunk down $25,000 an hour for a government jet to whisk him and his third wife, Louise Linton, off to their honeymoon in Europe, Noah said, running through that flap and an earlier one involving Linton and a government jet. "Seriously, these two are both so out of touch, it's almost beautiful," he said. "I'm so glad that they found each other. I just wish Mnuchin hadn't also found this guy," Trump, "because if you think these two are going to take care of everyday Americans, I've got one word for you: LOL." That didn't sound quite right, so he called out The Daily Show's "mean girl translator" to do it right. Watch below. Peter Weber
Trevor Noah puzzles over Trump's shifting border wall, DACA stances, decides he's bipartisan after all
After President Trump made a debt-ceiling deal with Democrats last week, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders praised his bipartisanship. "Wow, one deal, now he's Mr. Bipartisan?" Trevor Noah mused on Thursday's Daily Show. "You can't call someone a philanthropist just because they toss a quarter at a homeless person." Still, Trump was "so turned on by all of the positive press," he said, the president gave bipartisanship another go on Wednesday.
Trump, the "master negotiator" didn't "just give in to the Democrats" on DACA and not funding his border wall at Wednesday's night's dinner, "he came out sounding like they converted him," Noah said. So DACA stays, the wall doesn't, everyone's happy, he added. "Well, except for all the people who voted for him."
Trump must have noticed the outrage, because he spent all day trying to assure his supporters, not necessarily cogently. "There is an enormous wall between me and what President Trump just said," Noah said. "He sounded less like a president and more like a general contractor who's missed every deadline. Okay, from what I gather, there is no wall, but he's renovating a wall that, when complete, will become a fence, and then somebody else will pay for it?" he said, taking a stab. "I guess in many ways, Sarah Huckabee Sanders is right about Trump being bipartisan, because both sides of the country want to impeach his ass." Watch below. Peter Weber
The Miss America pageant was on Sunday — congratulations, Cara Mund — and Trevor Noah and Michelle Wolf had some thoughts about it on Tuesday's Daily Show. Wolf said she's actually a fan of beauty pageants, but found the list of qualifications too daunting to ever participate. In fact, "it's actually easier to become president than it is to become Miss America," she said. It's not just that presidents only have to be 35 and born in the U.S. — Miss America contestants also have to be talented, beautiful, and answer hard questions. They played the answer from Miss Texas about President Trump's response to the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville.
"How crazy is that?" Wolf said. "It took the president four days and three tries to give a sh---y answer to that question, and Miss Texas nailed it in 20 seconds. This is how little faith America has in its women: They have to be prettier, more talented, and smarter than the president just to get the job of waving for a year. She's going to be stuck in a parade, like, 'Glad I solved that Nazi problem. They won't even let me drive.'" She and Noah then compared Trump's answers on the Paris climate agreement and the Russia collusion investigation with those of Miss America contestants. Noah said he was impressed. "Well yeah, of course," Wolf deadpanned. "She knows that if she wins this contest, she'll be representing America to the world. That's a big responsibility."
Wolf had some nicer things to say about Trump, too. "I just figured something out," she said. "Remember how Donald Trump said he used to sneak into pageant dressing rooms? Maybe he wasn't being creepy, maybe he just needed answers." Watch. Peter Weber