John Oliver: Donald Trump A “Leader Operating On A Learner’s Permit”

John Oliver opened the latest edition of his HBO show Last Week Tonight talking about “President Trump: two words give you a sense of impending doom, like ‘Sewage Enima’ or ‘United Airlines’.”

The week saw the spectacular moment when White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer attempted to explain the Trump administration’sstance on Syria by pointing to the fact Assad had used chemical weapons on his own people. It was not a difficult concept to explain –and  “certainly very difficult to explain this badly,” Oliver said of Spicer’s remark that, during World War II, “someone as despicable as Hitler didn’t even sink to the level of using chemical weapons.”

“That’s not just wrong, that’s $200 question on Jeopardy wrong,” Oliver raved. “Everybody knows mass chemical extermination was kind of Hitler’s thing. That and the mustache. You take them away and all you’ve got is an ill tempered Austrian with resting bitch face.

When a reporter at the briefing gave him an opportunity to “clarify,” Spicer made it worse, saying Hitler “was not using the gas on his own people, the same way that Assad is doing…he brought hem into the Holocaust center I understand that.”

“At no point during that was he in control of his own mouth,” Oliver snarked. “Most specifically, the moment he suddenly decided to coin the term ‘Holocaust center.’ Which sounds like the home arena for an alt-right hockey team.”

Spicer then put out three statements clarifying his clarification, each time digging the hole a little deeper.

“And then a final statement that read, in its entirety: ‘Hello I can’t stop making statements. I don’t want to make any more statements. Can anybody hear me? Hitler, Hitler, Hitler. Sean,” Oliver joked.

Elsewhere this week, President Trump was interviewed by Fox Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo about Syria, during which he described, in great detail, the moment he informed Chinese President Xi Jinping the strikes would be taking place, as they dined at Mar-a-lago. Trump included the fact that the Chinese leader was eating “the most beautiful piece of chocolate cake that you have ever seen…and enjoying it.”

“Only Donald Trump could use a conversation about missile strikes in the middle east to advertise the cake at Mir-a-Lago,’ Oliver speculated.

And if you are thinking perhaps Trump brought up the cake because he wants to be extra precise about every single detail, Oliver noted that, one minute later, he told Bartiromo, “So, what happened is I said, ‘We’ve just launched 59 missiles, heading to Iraq.”

Bartiromo had to save Trump from himself, saying, “Heading to Syria.”

“Yes, heading toward Syria,’ Trump responded.

The Syria attack is, Oliver noted, a flip-flop for the Trump who once tweeted: “What I am saying is stay out of Syria.”

Which was just a warm-up for the week full of  Trump flip-flops including declaring NATO “no longer obsolete,” announcing China no longer is a currency manipulator, changing his mind about replacing Fed chair Janet Yellen, etc.

“If you are Trump supporter, might might rightly be pissed off….It’s like getting tickets for The Vagina Monologues but, on the night you went, it starred Brian Dennehy,” Oliver joked.

During the week, Trump also changed his mind about believing North Korea could easily be taken care of by China, apparently after Xi Jinping spent just 10 minutes explaining to him the history of China and Korea.

“The president seems to change his mind based on any information that is new to him. Which seems to be almost any information,” Oliver observed, adding, “That is genuinely worrying. We have a leader operating on a learner’s permit.”


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