On Last Week Tonight, John Oliver continued to take us on this journey of what he named last week: “Stupid Watergate II: The Stupidest Watergate”. As Oliver updated us with this week’s installment of Donald Trump’s saga surrounding his Ukraine scandal and the impeachment inquiry against him he said of this sequel: it is “something that features everything that is bad about the original while still somehow managing to be worse.” He added, “It’s basically The Diet Mountain Dew of political scandals.”
This week Trump tried to divert the narrative of his allegations and shed lights on the supposed conspiracies around the Biden family. While doing so, he hit some roadblocks.
On Twitter, Trump used a Nickelback video to slam the Biden family only to have it removed by Twitter after the band complained of a copyright violation.
The next day, during an interview with a loud helicopter in the background, he suggested that China should investigate the Bidens. “Holy sh*t! Instead of denying that he privately solicited dirt from a foreign power, he publicly did it and asked another foreign power to get involved too which is just making it worse,” quipped Oliver. “It’s bad that Trump is fixated on a right-wing conspiracy theory about the Bidens but what makes it far worse is the extent to which he abuses the power of the presidency to pursue that belief.”
Oliver then went on to talk about the texts that have been brought to light between career diplomat Bill Taylor and Trump’s ambassador to the EU, Gordon Sondland. In one text exchange, Taylor said “I think its crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign.” Sondland responded: “I believe you are incorrect about president trump’s intentions no quid pro quos of any kind” before suggesting that they take the conversation offline.
“When you are that concerned about not leaving a paper trail in your conversation its just inherently suspicious!” Oliver pointed out.
As more information comes out of this impeachment inquiry, the White House continues to receive not-so-good-news. A second whistleblower with first-hand knowledge of Trump’s Ukraine dealings has spoken to the inspector general. In addition, Oliver referenced a Washington Post article that said White House staffers have voiced concerned about Trump’s approach to diplomacy. They said that his calls with world leaders have left some of his aides “genuinely horrified”.
According to the story, Trump pestered Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for help in recommending him for a Nobel Peace Prize. They also said that he was “obsequious and fawning” to Vladimir Putin — and the last one takes the cake. Seriously. in a conversation with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Trump repeated how much he liked a particular kind of chocolate cake.
“While that last one sounds dumb, at least ‘I like chocolate cake’ is a unifying message,” Oliver joked. “The president might be a racist foghorn wrapped in old fried chicken skin but as far as chocolate cake is concerned, he is us and we is him.”
Oliver said that we all know that Trump’s Ukraine dealings are bad but we should reflect on just exactly how bad it is. “Using your office to take down your political rivals is what dictators do,” he said. “Asking Ukraine and China to do that should really bother us. The only question is: will republicans care?”
He points out that many Republicans are trying hard not to comment because of Marco Rubio who said that Trump’s request wasn’t real. He said that he asked Ukraine and China to investigate because he is just provoking the press. Oliver points even if Trump is trolling, it doesn’t matter.
“People act on his jokes,” Oliver said. “Russia took his ‘help find Hillary’s emails’ routine pretty seriously and shooting his mouth off now is significantly worse because he’s the President.”
He continues, “Nixon justified his actions during watergate by saying ‘when the President does it that meant that it is not illegal’ but in Trump’s case, it’s exactly opposite of that because if he was just any old Fox News idiot ranting about how Biden should be investigated that would be one thing — but he’s not. He’s the President. He has real power and when he abuses it to keep himself in power that’s a big problem.”