With the rest of the other late-night hosts taking the week off, it was up to Trevor Noah to sum up another week in the ongoing embarrassing national nightmare that is a Donald Trump presidency. (Sort of like going to school unprepared for a test, plus you’re naked. Oh, and you’re a half-witted bigot reality show huckster who betrayed your country to enrich yourself and your ludicrous family. Like that.) On Monday’s Daily Show, Noah opened up with a heartfelt plea for viewers to donate (cash, with thoughts and prayers tied for a distant second) to those affected by Hurricane Harvey. (Here’s a handy list of organizations.) After that, however, Noah moved on to “the other storm that is battering the whole country,” namely Donald Trump. Especially Trump’s recent pardon of disgraced former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, a man, as Noah lays out, whose ultimate downfall came less from being “anti-illegal immigrant” (as Arpaio claimed) and more from his long history of “anti-being a decent human being.”
Noah explained the various ways that Arpaio embodied essentially every cliché of the bigoted lawman ruling his own, isolated hate-fiefdom. From his notorious detention “tent city” (which Arpaio is shown proudly referring to as his private “concentration camp”), to the shockingly high number of unexplained deaths of people in his custody, to his infamous policy of making pregnant women give birth in shackles, and that time one of his guards broke a disabled prisoner’s neck for daring to ask for a catheter, all Noah’s thoroughly documented charges against Arpaio were damning enough. And that’s not even getting into the fact that, in his time as Maricopa County sheriff, Arpaio’s abuses of power (and people) cost Arizona taxpayers over $142 million in legal costs and settlements in civil rights and discrimination cases.
Nope, Noah explains that Arpaio was facing jail time himself (although most likely not in a flimsy desert tent gulag with temperatures in the triple digits) for violating a federal court’s order that he and his minions stop racially profiling Arizona drivers who happened to look Latinx. By basically daring the courts to jail him for being a racist prick, Noah says, Arpaio was openly defying the Judicial Branch’s attempt to get him to stop violating Americans’ civil rights according to his own racist prick-ishness. And, As Noah goes on, Trump’s decision to pardon Arpaio makes it clear that Donald Trump is deliberately undermining that Judicial Branch’s authority, not only to stick up for his pal Joe (an early supporter of both the racist “birther” bullshit and Trump’s candidacy), but to lay the groundwork for similarly giving a “Get Out Of Jail Free For Being An Un-American Scumbag” card to all those implicated in the rapidly escalating Trump-Russia investigation. Or maybe he did it just for the ratings.