There’s nothing funny about the Trump administration’s policy of separating children from their parents at the border, which doesn’t make it an ideal topic for late night hosts. Stephen Colbert acknowledged that difficulty directly on The Late Show on Thursday night, explaining that he usually only addresses tragic stories on the show if everyone is already talking about them. But he’s willing to make an exception:
That’s my job: to give you my take on the conversation everyone’s already having. With any luck, my take is funnier than yours, or I would be watching you. But this story is different, because this is the conversation everybody should be having. Attorney General and man dreaming of legally changing his name to “Jim Crow” Jeff Sessions has instituted a new policy to separate immigrant kids from their parents at the border.
An estimated 1,358 children have been taken from their families so far, with some officials reportedly telling their parents that the children were being taken away for a bath, only to never return them. “Clearly, no decent human being could defend that,” said Colbert. “So Jeff Sessions did.”
Colbert, who is devoutly Catholic, especially took issue with Sessions quoting the bible—specifically, Romans 13, the same passage used to defend slavery in the 1840s—to justify the policy as morally acceptable. Colbert suggested that Sessions might want to go back and reread that bible, and quoted Romans 13:10 to him. “Love your neighbor as yourself. Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law,” he recited, before ripping into Sessions’s use of the bible as a smokescreen: “I’m not surprised Sessions didn’t read the whole thing. After all, Jesus said, ‘Suffer the children to come unto me’ but I’m pretty sure all Sessions saw was the words children and suffer and said ‘I’m on it.’”
Colbert concluded the segment by borrowing a phrase from Samantha Bee: “If we let this happen in our name, we are a feckless … country.”