Obviously we’re in this for the long haul. We aren’t getting out of our homes for weeks still—probably even a few months, at least. I hope your situation is as tolerable as it can be, and that you’ll be able to stay home that long without growing crazy. And if you’re Seth Meyers, I hope you’ll be able to find a nook somewhere in your house where you can record your late night show in comfort.
In his latest work-from-home edition of A Closer Look, the Late Night host discusses one of our president’s favorite pastimes: lying. Trump has finally gotten serious about COVID-19, extending the government’s social distancing recommendation through the end of April, and openly acknowledging scientific estimates that anywhere from 100,000 to 200,000 Americans could die from the virus. If Trump had taken it this seriously from the start, and not repeatedly compare it to the flu, or predict that it would just go away without any action being taken, perhaps that number would be a lot lower.
Of course Trump can’t admit that he and his administration completely failed to respond accordingly to this threat in its early stages. The president and the entire right-wing media apparatus have been downplaying the threat of COVID-19 and the steps that would be necessary to protect us for weeks, with Trump and his media lackeys at one point spreading the message that the calls for action were a Democratic “hoax” to make him look bad. Even now, some right-wing figures still downplay the danger, even after Trump has shockingly acknowledged the real risks.
Meyers digs into the president’s utter lack of accountability and decision to lie about his previous COVID-19 statements from the warmth of what looks like an attic apartment in his home. He runs down not just Trump’s recent statements and lies, but how his administration kneecapped the government’s entire pandemic response plan shortly after he got into office, undoing years of effort focused on preventing a crisis just like the one we’re currently facing. Because who needs a pandemic team when you can slash some more money out of the budget to give to your wealthy friends and donors?
Look, it’s hard to laugh about anything right now. It takes a heroic amount of mental strength just to look at the news. Thinking about what Trump has done and said—and what he and the government haven’t done—makes this catastrophe even worse. Nobody should blame you if you can’t handle watching the news, or watching clips like this one, that try to make information more comprehensible by making it funny. Everything takes a psychic toll right now, more than at any point in our lives, and unfortunately the man who was somehow elected to rule this country—the man whose job should be to try and make us feel at least somewhat safe—is constitutionally incapable of ever saying the right thing. It makes it easier to ignore him as much as possible, but it’s also important for his lies, actions and inaction to be called out and exposed for the world to see. We can’t ignore what’s happening, or let it slip from memory whenever this cultural moment is over. As silly as it sounds, segments like this one could help ensure that doesn’t happen.