Stephen Colbert taped Wednesday night’s Late Show before “baby-grandpa hybrid” Jeff Sessions was officially confirmed to become President Trump’s attorney general, but after Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s vehement objections were shut down by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell the night before, it was pretty much a done deal.
As Colbert put it, to cheers from his live audience, Warren “kicked off her 2020 presidential campaign” by reading aloud from a 1986 letter by Coretta Scott King that criticized Sessions’s civil rights record. “This damning letter was critical in denying Sessions a federal judgeship 30 years ago,” Colbert said, calling it “the worst thing to happen to Sessions in the ’80s, other than his Flock of Seagulls haircut.”
The host sarcastically noted that Republicans “handled the situation like adults” by voting to “silence” Warren. “It’s all part of the GOP’s February message: Happy Black History Month, now shut up about the bad stuff.”
In order to shut down Warren, McConnell—or “hush mob leader,” in Colbert’s words—invoked Rule 19 of the Senate, which states that no member shall “directly or indirectly, by any form of words, impute to another Senator or to other Senators any conduct or motive unworthy or unbecoming a Senator.”
“It’s like saying, if you can’t say anything nice, you’re probably talking about Jeff Sessions,” Colbert joked. Mimicking McConnell, who condemned Warren from the Senate floor, he added, “Would it kill her to smile? She’s so much prettier when she smiles.”
“So, to recap, these days a black person can’t get their message heard, even when a white person is saying it,” Colbert said. “Unless that white person is a guy, because this morning, a bunch of white male senators were allowed to read excerpts from King’s letter on the Senate floor.”
“Of course the men weren’t silenced,” he added. “That would violate Senate Rule 18, ‘Bros before hoes.’”