Stephen Colbert has been no fan of President Trump during the first few months of the administration; however, on Wednesday night, he took a brief break from criticizing the commander-in-chief. While Colbert’s opening monologue is usually an upbeat barrage of jokes made at the expense of lawmakers and the mistakes of the day, he began Wednesday night’s show with an air of solemnity.
“Before we get started, I just want to take a moment to talk about the attack in Alexandria, Virginia […] targeting Republican congressmen, and I pray to God that everybody pulls through. Violence of any kind is never justified and is the last refuge of the incompetent,” Colbert began, quoting the famous science fiction author Isaac Asimov. The host moved on to praise the elected officials in Washington, D.C, saying, “Even in the horror of this day, there was reason to take heart in bipartisan responses,” then rolling clips of heartfelt speeches by Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) on the floor of the Capitol.
And in a rare moment of praise for the president, Colbert declared, “I just want to say thank you to the congressional leadership and to the president for responding to this act of terror in a way that gives us hope that whatever our differences, we will always be the United States of America. Thank you for that.” President Trump responded to the shooting with a tweet saying, “Our thoughts and prayers are with [Steve Scalise].”
The “Late Show” host then changed tune and lampooned Trump’s birthday, saying, “Seventy-one candles on the cake, although Trump later said, ‘It was over a million candles.'” But nonetheless, it was nice