In the early hours of Thursday morning—around 2:30 a.m. EST—three American hostages arrived back on U.S. soil, where President Trump and first lady Melania Trump were there to greet them.
The hostages were freed after years of imprisonment by North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, and thankfully were spared the fate that befell another Kim hostage, the late Otto Warmbier.
“I give the president a lot of the business—I hit him with the zingers—but it’s nice when you see good things happen in Trump’s America,” said Stephen Colbert on Thursday. “For instance, early this morning, the three American hostages freed by North Korea landed safely in the United States. That’s great news.”
He added, “The president was there to meet the freed men—along with Melania, who is hoping to be freed next. It’s too long. Too long.”
The Late Show host opened his monologue with the freed-hostages news, and while he gave Trump props, was also quick to criticize the president’s bizarre behavior on the tarmac of Andrews Air Force Base—which included thanking Kim Jong Un.
“We want to thank Kim Jong Un, who really was excellent to these three incredible people,” Trump announced to the cameras, as the three freed hostages looked on in amazement.
“No, he wasn’t. He wasn’t ‘excellent’ to them. And you know the hint that he wasn’t? They look happy to be with you, OK? That’s how low the bar is,” cracked Colbert. “You don’t negotiate the release of people from an ‘excellent’ situation. Don’t worry, we’re sending in SEAL Team Six to extract you from that all-inclusive beach vacation.”
And Trump also, according to Colbert, “was not done praising these hostages’ kidnapper right in front of them,” saying of Kim, “And he was nice in letting them go before the meeting [with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo]. I mean, frankly, we didn’t think this was going to happen, and it did.”
Cue Colbert: “Coincidentally, that is what it says beneath Trump’s official portrait.”
Of course, this being Trump, he had to mention TV ratings.
“It’s very early in the morning. I think you probably broke the all-time in history television rating for 3 o’clock in the morning,” boasted the president.
“Yes,” offered Colbert. “That is how history judges all presidential accomplishments: Did it do better than an infomercial for Slap Chop?”