Here’s How America’s Late-Night Hosts Reacted to the Capitol Breach

Jimmy Fallon said "today was terrorism," while Seth Meyers called for Trump to be immediately removed from office

stephen colbert
Stephen Colbert reacts to the Capitol breach on Wednesday night.

As you’re no doubt already aware, yesterday was a horrific, unprecedented day in American history, as a group of protesters-turned-insurrectionists looking to disrupt the certification of a free and fair election stormed the Capitol, forcing their way inside, looting and vandalizing Congressional offices while legislators sheltered in place. One woman was shot and killed in the chaos, while three other people suffered “medical emergencies” and later died.

Naturally, that’s not the sort of thing that makes for good comedy, and Wednesday’s late-night shows took a much more serious tone than usual. Hosts called out President Trump for inciting the violence and expressed their shock and horror over the day’s events. Here’s what they had to say.

Stephen Colbert

Colbert admitted in his monologue that he had rarely “been as upset as I am tonight,” and his anger at those who turned a blind eye to violent rhetoric was palpable.

“Hey, Republicans who supported this president, especially the ones in the joint session of Congress today, have you had enough?” he said. “Who could have seen this coming? Everyone? Even dummies like me. This is the most shocking, most tragic, least-surprising thing I’ve ever seen. In 2022, when all of those Republicans who are responsible for what happened today are running for re-election, let’s remember them for who they showed themselves to be today: cynical cowards who believe the voters should not choose who governs this country.”

He singled out Sen. Josh Hawley for “raising [his] stupid fist to the mob outside the Capitol.” “Look at that — it’s like ‘Black Power’ but the opposite,” he continued. “There really should be a name for that. And, obviously, he has to keep his fist closed, because if he opened it, you’d see all the blood on his hands.”

Seth Meyers

Meyers called for Trump to be “immediately removed from office” after the day’s events. “What we saw today was a violent insurgency and attempt to overthrow the legitimately elected government of the United States,” he said in his segment about the breach. “As we were all watching these stunning scenes of violence, and sedition, and insurrection against our democracy, anxiously hoping for a restoration of calm and order, the president of the United States told the traitors and the mob, ‘We love you, you’re very special, I know how you feel.’”

“The only way our democracy is going to survive this harrowing moment is if he’s immediately removed from office by either the cabinet or the Congress and prosecuted,” he continued. “Anything less is tacit permission to continue to use his office, and his influence after he leaves office, to foment sedition and dismantle democracy. Multi-racial, pluralistic democracy is fragile and precious, and it requires our vigilant stewardship and protection. Anyone not willing to forward that project, with the fullness of their effort, must be shamed and disgraced and removed from office. And that must start immediately with Donald Trump.”

Jimmy Fallon

Fallon delivered a joke-free monologue, focusing instead on the severity of the moment and calling out “people walking around with the flag upside-down thinking they’re patriotic.”

“Today was not patriotism; today was terrorism,” he said, adding, “President-elect Biden — President Biden said it best when he said we have to step up, we’re at our best when we step up,” Fallon added. “But President Biden also said something after his speech that hit me even harder. He said, ‘Enough is enough is enough.’ And I believe that’s what a majority of this country has been saying, has been screaming for a long time now, ‘Enough is enough.’”

“Today was a disgrace,” he continued. “Today was disappointing, but sadly, today was not a surprise. But it’s important to remember that this is not who we are. I assure there are more good people than there are bad, and good will prevail.”

Jimmy Kimmel

Kimmel didn’t mince words when calling out Trump and various Republican Senators for challenging the election results.

“The president of the United States, because he is too angry, too insecure, and too incompetent to deal with the fact that he lost an election — a fair election, an election that was no different than any other election; an election that he lost by 7 millions votes and 70 electors — turns an angry mob against members of Congress and his own vice president, not to mention endangering the Capitol Police, those blue lives he claims matter so much to him,” he said.

Kimmel also called out the Capitol Police response to the insurrection. “The police were very laid-back compared to the Black Lives Matter protests,” he said. “Some were seen taking selfies with the criminals, others seemed to welcome them through the gates. It was a terrible day in the history of this country. Our president and the scumbags that kept this ‘stolen-election’ charade going — and that’s you Josh Hawley, that’s you Ted Cruz — either intentionally or just wildly irresponsibly lit these fires to start a war just to distract us from the fact that Donald Trump lost the election.”

“These people are not Americans,” he concluded. “There is no ‘We the people.’ There’s ‘Me the people.’”

James Corden

Corden, who hails from the U.K., tried to offer his perspective as an outsider, and while he admitted that the day “will go down as a dark one in the long history of America,” he offered a more optimistic take than many of his colleagues.

“And in two weeks, on those same steps where that mob fought and pushed past the police, the people who encouraged and instigated that violence — Donald Trump, his children, Rudy Giuliani — they’re all going to need a tourist pass to get in because they’ve lost the presidency, they’ve lost the House, and now they’ve lost the Senate,” Corden said.

“Today was their last dance at the worst party any of us have ever been to,” he continued. “So if you can, have hope. You’ve seen in these past few weeks in America that voting counts. Change is coming, science is real, vaccines are on the way. I really do believe that there are better times ahead.”

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