Donald Trump has said and done many, many things that would disqualify an ordinary candidate from the presidency of the United States. (In fact, here are 153 of them.) But no matter how outrageous, bigoted, or egomaniacal they may be, Trump’s comments never seem to threaten his position as the Republican nominee, and on Sunday night, John Oliver explored why that’s the case.
Oliver began with the Democratic National Convention, which proved the party to be “a coalition of constantly squabbling, if fundamentally like-minded, Katy Perry fans.” But one of the standouts from the long list of speakers was Khizr Khan, the father of a war hero killed while serving in Iraq in 2004. Khan, who is Muslim-American, accused Donald Trump of intolerance and of never having sacrificed for his country.
Trump retaliated, bizarrely enough, by defending his own “sacrifices” and by suggesting that Khan’s wife Ghazala, who stood by his side, had been forcibly silenced, possibly because of her Muslim faith. Oliver noted that Ghazala had explained her reluctance to speak—“Because she gets too upset when she sees images of her dead son’s face, you f—ing asshole”—before questioning how Trump could make such a blatantly offensive statement seemingly without consequences. His conclusion? Sheer volume. Trump has said so many terrible things that it has become the difference between stepping on a single nail or a whole bed of them: The more statements he makes, the less of an impact each individual one has.
But there was an even more horrifying conclusion to be drawn from the whole ordeal:
Honestly, the main takeaway from these two weeks is that, incredibly, we may be on the brink of electing such a damaged, sociopathic narcissist that the simple presidential duty of comforting the families of fallen soldiers may actually be beyond his capabilities, and I genuinely did not think that was a part of the job that someone could be bad at.
Oliver (whose wife, Kate Norley, is a veteran of the war in Iraq) ended the segment on such a despondent note that he showed zero enthusiasm introducing Last Week Tonight’s DNC highlight reel.