Stephen Colbert spent the bulk of his monologue Thursday night on the strong possibility of President Trump causing a government shutdown over Congress’ refusal to fund his $5 billion border wall. But he also managed to get in a few jokes about some even bigger news that broke just before the Late Show taping.
“We know one person who is going to be furloughed regardless of whether the government is staying open or not,” Colbert said. “Secretary of Defense and holiday-traveler-who-already-has-his eye-bags-packed Jim ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis.”
When the host revealed the news of Mattis’ “retirement”—as Trump put it—to his audience, they let out something along the lines of a shocked groan. “Yeah, listen to that reaction!” Colbert said. “Kind of scary when everyone says, ‘There goes the voice of reason: Mad Dog.’”
Of course, Mattis did not “retire” but rather resigned in protest, writing pointedly in his letter to the president, “you have the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours.”
“Yes, perhaps a feral child, snarling at those who dare approach his pile of rotting food scraps,” Colbert suggested.