Brow Beat

Stephen Colbert Isn’t Buying Trump’s China Trade War Defenses

Trade talks between the United States and China broke down last week after the countries failed to reach an agreement. And despite President Trump’s insistence that the escalating trade war would only hurt China, the U.S. is beginning to feel the harmful reverberations of the dispute—like the Dow plunging 617 points on Monday in response to the news that China would impose retaliatory duties on U.S. exports.

Examining the conflict on Monday, Stephen Colbert couldn’t resist opening his segment with an Edwin Starr riff: “Trade war, what is it good for?” the Late Show band played. Even Larry Kudlow, the White House’s chief economic adviser, admitted over the weekend that “both sides will suffer” in the squabble, before trying in vain to rebrand “trade war” as “trade negotiation.” Colbert wasn’t buying it. “There’s a reason no one went to see Avengers: Infinity Negotiation,” he quipped. Then again, Colbert admits that he’s not a financial expert: “I understand economics as well as Donald Trump does. I bet if I tried, I could lose 10 million dollars.”