John Oliver: Donald Trump “Is Not Normal”


UPDATED with video: John Oliver devoted the entirety of his final Last Week Tonight of 2016 to the just-concluded presidential election.

“Turns out instead of showing our daughters that they could some day be president, America proved that no grandpa is too racist to become leader of the free world,” Oliver noted.

Among the things Oliver suggested we be horrified about:

  • Donald Trump will soon have access to the nuclear codes.
  • Our future president was supported by a Grand Wizard of the Klan and 60 million people voted for him despite that.
  • “Oh shit, the Supreme Court”
  • He’s advocated bombing civilians, looting oil, waterboarding, and will be in charge of the military

Donald Trump will be president, and respecting democracy means accepting that, Oliver acknowledged. But some journalists have been taking that sentiment “a little too far,” he warned, queuing up clips of Don Lemon and others saying we need to give Trump a chance to govern because if he succeeds we all succeed.

“Optimism is nice if you can swing it, but you’ve got to be careful, because it can feed into the normalization of Donald Trump, and he’s not normal,” Oliver warned. “He’s abnormal. He’s a human What Is Wrong With This Picture… So giving him a chance, in the sense of not speaking out immediately against policies he has proposed, is dangerous. Because some of them are alarming.

Oliver ticked off some of his campaign vows, calling it “the To Do list on Satan’s refrigerator.”

“Some argue he might not have meant all those things,” the late night host said. “That leaves us with two bad options: Either we just elected a president who didn’t mean a single word he said, or we elected one who did.”

Problem is, it’s impossible to know which one is true, Oliver said, citing Trump’s 60 Minutes interview that had run earlier same evening, in which he walked back several of his campaign promises that had played well with his supporters. Among them, his vow to kill Obamacare, and to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Hillary Clinton with a view toward tossing her into the hoosegow.

“Don’t get complacent…He might change his mind on that again,” Oliver cautioned “Trump is like a Magic 8 Ball; every time you shake him gives you a different answer.

Trump’s election begs the question how the media, which is “supposed to catch a serial liar, failed,” Oliver said.

Some blame lies with the mainstream media, who waited far too long to take Trump seriously, giving him billions of dollars worth of free media, the late night host said, running that clip of CNN Worldwide chief Jeff Zucker admitting his cable news net aired too many of Trump’s campaign rallies in their entirety.

More problematic: many Americans now get information from micro-targeted media, where fake facts circulate.  This “cesspool of nonsense would be a problem anyway, were it not that one of the people in thrall to it is our future president,” Oliver said. The real estate magnate turned reality-TV star is the first major political candidate “to harness and fully legitimize weird conspiracy bullshit clickbait.” Ted Cruz got it right, Oliver said, when he called Trump “a pathological liar who doesn’t know the difference between the truth and lies.”

Keep reminding yourself this is not normal, Oliver said. Clarifying, he continued: “a Klan-backed misogynist internet troll will deliver the next State of the Union Address, and that is not normal.”

Oliver ended his final show of the year with a look at how “uncommonly shitty” was 2016, including contributions from Amy Schumer, Larry Wilmore, Kathy Griffin, Megan Mullally, Nick Offerman, Larry David, Billy Eichner, and Jeffrey Tambor, among others.

And then, Oliver blew up the year.

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