Seth Meyers roared back onto his Late Night stage on Monday like a—well, not like a hurricane. Not at all. More like a smiley political comedian from New Hampshire. Seriously, hurricanes—as Meyers covered in an amusing rundown of the enduring trend of reporters in windbreakers yelling their standups over gale-force winds—are no joke. (Not that he didn’t make jokes. Like his aborted setup, “I mean, who wants to see Anderson Cooper soaking wet?” C’mon, son.)
Still, Meyers showed how not everyone (and certainly not anyone who is currently president) has the good sense to refrain from waxing rhapsodic about a hurricane, especially when you take time out of your praise of the brave people of the Coast Guard to talk about how the Guard’s incessant rescue efforts during Irma are great for “re-branding.” (That’s sort of their brand, rescuing people. It’s working out quite well.) But Meyers’ perfect storm of criticism of the media and of Trump came together when his “A Closer Look” segment examined how pundits are currently rushing to graft some sort of coherent interpretation onto Trump’s recent deal with Democratic lawmakers over raising the debt ceiling.
Sure, Mitch McConnell (seen in an Oval Office photo looking “like he just saw a fellow ghost,” according to Meyers) and his fellow Republicans were left in gibbering-on-the-Sunday-talk-shows bafflement by Trump’s action. But Meyers was quick to shut down the proliferation of “Is this the day that Donald Trump became president?” op-eds emanating from press outlets like the New York Times, Washington Post, and Associated Press positing that Trump’s cosmetic aisle-crossing means he’s “America’s first independent president.” You know, instead of an unqualified, self-important dummy whose monstrously needy ego-abyss leaves him uniquely susceptible to being manipulated into doing something decent by actual politicians like Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi. More important than the debt deal (although it does leave congressional Republicans in disarray, which is always a treat) is Meyers’ assertion that Donald Trump—as much of a transparently over-his-head ding-dong as he daily appears—is also very much in line with modern GOP traditions like racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, anti-science bias, love of tax breaks for the mega-rich, and more. Meyers notes how the Republicans have had plenty of chances to repudiate Trump (after Charlottesville, after firing James Comey, after pick your own reprehensible Donald Trump moment). And they haven’t done it. Citing Sunday’s 60 Minutes interview with sort-of ousted white supremacist Trump sidekick and Breitbart propagandist Steve Bannon as evidence that Donald Trump is a crude but grotesquely accurate expression of the Republican Party at this point, Meyers rebutted the most recent attempt to portray Trump as anything resembling a traditionally functional leader, stating bluntly, “The only thing he’s independent of is reality.”