While former Daily Show correspondents are getting shellacked over offensive jokes, holding alternative White House Correspondents’ Dinners, and planning reunions, the actual show is still just plugging along. Wednesday night, host Trevor Noah looked at Trump’s climate change policies—essentially, the more change, the better—and brainstormed ways to get America’s president to either address the issue or at least stop making things worse. The heart of the bit was a direct plea to the president:
President Trump, if by some miracle, you see this clip, I just want to say this. You may not care about climate change, but I know you care about winning. Which is why you’re not going to let climate change kick your ass by flooding your winter wonderland. Come on, President Trump, it’s time for you to stand up and tell the world nobody sinks your properties but you!
Obviously, this isn’t going to change Trump’s mind, but it’s worth noticing that Noah is cleverly framing the issue as a question of Trump’s strength and power—he alone can solve climate change. There was a similar theme in Sen. Bob Casey’s Wednesday tweetstorm about a 5-year-old being sent back to Honduras despite possibly qualifying for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status. Addressing Trump directly on Twitter, he pled that the child—whose life, along with his mother’s, is in danger from the criminal gangs they fled Honduras to escape after his mother witnessed a murder—not be deported. A typical tweet:
Sen. Casey failed in his quest—according to his tweets, the Department of Homeland Security rushed the child’s deportation when it heard there was a chance he would qualify to stay—and Noah has an even worse chance of getting Trump to stop destroying the planet. But it’s interesting that they both arrived at the same strategy: Humanize the victims (be they 5-year-olds or golf resorts), flatter the president for being so strong and powerful, and hope a miracle happens. If the rhetorical strategy seems familiar, it should: It’s the same approach taken by Sen. Ruth Martin in The Silence of the Lambs after serial killer Buffalo Bill kidnaps her daughter:
I’m speaking now to the person who is holding my daughter. Catherine is very gentle and kind. Talk to her and you’ll see. You have the power. You are in charge. I know you can feel love and compassion. You have a wonderful chance to show the whole world that you can be merciful as well as strong, that you’re big enough to treat Catherine better than the world has treated you. You have that power. My daughter is Catherine. Release my little girl.
We’ve reached the point where everyone from talk show hosts to senators is negotiating with the sitting president of the United States like he’s a serial killer with a hostage in his basement. And we’re just over 100 days in!