Brow Beat

Full Frontal Correspondents Race Around the World to Apologize to Everyone Trump Has Offended

Haitians, Mexicans, Dan Rather, the English language …

Samantha Bee stands next to a graphic that reads "The Apology Race" over a photo of the world with a giant orange wig on it
This is one reality show parody that feels a little too real. Still via Youtube.

There is at least one Canadian stereotype that Samantha Bee lives up to: She loves apologies. The Full Frontal host sent four of her correspondents—Ashley Nicole Black, Allana Harkin, Amy Hoggart, and Mike Rubens—on a reality show-style quest around the world to apologize to (some of) the many people Donald Trump has offended. The Amazing Race parody saw those correspondents saying how sorry they are on behalf of America to all 21 million residents of Mexico City, to black people in Atlanta, and to the English language itself, to name just a few apologisees.

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This was a tough gimmick for Full Frontal to pull off, because there’s such a wide gulf between Trump’s goofs—his outrageous personal life, his language gaffes, the covfefe-style distractions—and his administration’s damaging policies and dangerous rhetoric. Not to mention, Trump has so many scandals in any two-week period, and they happen in such rapid succession, that it’s impossible to cover them all in depth on a program like Full Frontal, which airs only once a week.

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The reality show format of the segment actually helped with that, because it allowed the correspondents to highlight news stories that might have been forgotten or overshadowed in recent weeks, such the ICE raids on 7-Eleven convenience stores. It also made it easier to mix relatively lighthearted moments, like Hoggart apologizing to Dan Rather for Trump’s attacks on the free press, with more serious ones, like Harkin sitting down with an El Salvadorian family in New York facing deportation.

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That’s the other benefit of doing a segment like this one: It gave the people and groups Trump has offended a public platform to respond. One Haitian man pointed out that Trump’s “shithole” comments came shortly before the anniversary of the country’s devastating 2010 earthquake. A DACA recipient explained her frustration with being treated like a political pawn. And an Indiana steelworker didn’t mince words about Trump’s broken promise to keep jobs in the United States. “People bought it, and they bought a bag of shit, and that’s what we got,” he told Rubens. “I think Donald Trump’s a liar, a clown—he’s a racist. Mexicans, they’re not our enemy. They didn’t take our jobs away.”

“I’m sorry that Mike Pence was your governor,” said Rubens.

“We’ve been dealt a damn bad hand,” the steelworker replied.

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