Donald Trump’s ability to steal the spotlight away from his administration’s attempts at actual policy is not healthy for our democracy. But at least it’s fascinating to watch Stephen Colbert find new ways to filter the president’s daily deluge of Twitter idiocy into Late Show bits. On Monday night, Colbert used Trump’s misspelling of California Congressman Adam Schiff’s name to use a particular word while avoiding FCC fines. In a run of the mill Trump insult tweet, the president called Schiff “little Adam Schitt,” and news sources can’t be sure whether this misnomer was a mistake or an insult:
What’s certain is that Colbert wasn’t going to let pass an opportunity to use a word that sounds like, well, “Schitt” un-bleeped. “According to this network’s rules I am only allowed to say that word when the president’s tweet appears on screen like so, at which point I can totally say it,” explained Colbert, “Am I going to take advantage of that opportunity? Is Adam Schitt in the woods?”
Trump’s fourth grade bully-style take down of the congressman came after Schiff condemned his decision to appoint acting attorney general Matt Whitaker without Senate approval. Along with giving him a nickname lewd enough to violate FCC regulations, Trump accused Schiff of hypocrisy by stating that special counsel Robert Mueller wasn’t approved by the Senate. There’s just one small problem with this argument: unlike the attorney general position, the special counsel doesn’t require Senate approval. “You can’t just use Senate confirmation to discredit anyone you’ve decided you want to get rid of,” said Colbert, launching into his drawling, pointer finger-aloft Trump impression, “Look, I’m sorry, Melania. You were never confirmed by the Senate. Your appointment is null and void. My new wife is Tom Brady.”
It’s hard to know how to process the level of discourse that Trump has normalized, but Colbert may have found a single facial expression that represents everything the country is feeling right now. It came as a reaction to Chris Wallace’s decision to ask Trump how he would hypothetically feel about amending the Constitution to allow himself to seek a third term. Go right to 4:25 below to see what I mean.