As President Donald Trump’s second week in office comes to a close, Seth Meyers told viewers Thursday night that it has been “as chaotic as his first.” And nothing was more bizarre than Trump’s introduction to Black History Month on Wednesday.
“Trump commemorated Black History Month by praising abolitionist Frederick Douglass,” the Late Night host said, “but from his comments, it seemed pretty clear that, not only did Trump not know who Frederick Douglass was, he also seemed to think that Douglass, who died in 1895, might still be alive.”
As Trump said, Douglass has been getting “more and more” recognition for the “amazing job” he’s been doing. “Keep your eye on that Fred Douglass kid, he’s going places,” Meyers said as Trump. Remarkably, White House press secretary Sean Spicer “also thought Douglass might be still alive.”
“Who among us wouldn’t panic if asked to recite stuff we learned in high school,” Meyers said, “but how did you not have time between the president’s comments and your press briefing to Google Frederick Douglass? And not his whole biography, but simple stuff like, ‘Is Frederick Douglass alive?’”
Later, Meyers said “nothing has been more troubling than the incompetence Trump’s administration displayed in rolling out his controversial travel ban on refugees in seven Muslim-majority countries,” revisiting an issue he took on earlier in the week. The host went after Spicer once more for denying that the policy is a “ban” on anyone.
“Yeah, where could the lying, dishonest media possibly get the idea that this is a ban?” Meyers asked, before showing multiple videos of Spicer, Trump, and Kellyanne Conway using that term. “That’s a classic case of gotcha journalism, in that they gotcha on camera saying ‘ban’ like a million times.”
Finally, during a commentary on Trump’s education secretary nominee Betsy DeVos, who may end up getting blocked by members of the president’s own party, Meyers came back to where he started.
“Republicans want to defund our schools and roll back public education, which could be disastrous,” he said, “because then, you end up not knowing who Frederick Douglass is!”