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Last Week Tonight host John Oliver started his show Sunday night tackling the only topic on everyone’s minds this weekend, by clearly and decisively dismantling President Donald Trump’s response to the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Trump’s infamous statement on the rally, in which he condemned the violence “on many sides,” was made before a bill signing in New Jersey. And while the statement itself has been widely circulated, Oliver chose to focus on the rest of Trump’s actions (and non-actions) during the signing event. In addition to his vague opening remarks, Trump had at least two other opportunities to return to the mic and amp up his statement, perhaps more forcefully denouncing the rise of neo-Nazism in America or at least acknowledging the questions peppering him from the crowd. Instead, he chose to “immediately absolve himself,” change the subject, and exit the room without responding.
Oliver’s takedown has his characteristic humor to it: He made a self-deprecating analogy to the fairies in The Legend of Zelda and memorably claimed “Nazis are like cats; if they like you, it’s because you’re feeding them.” But by the end of the clip, viewers can tell the host is reaching his boiling point. Disavowing Nazis is “as much of a presidential gimme as pardoning a fucking turkey,” he says, before calling to his audience to look to one another for leadership in these tumultuous times, as the Oval Office’s resident “cannot even be bothered to fucking condemn [Nazis].”
Monica Riese now serves as the Daily Dot’s director of production, having previously been the publication’s entertainment editor and assistant managing editor. She is based in Austin, Texas, and formerly contributed to the Austin Chronicle, where her breaking news work was recognized by the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies.