On Monday night, the current king of late night, Stephen Colbert, welcomed a very special guest during his Late Show opening monologue: “Stephen Colbert.”
Yes, the comedian brought on an iteration of his Colbert Report conservative-blowhard character—but was sure to place a disclaimer that this is not the same thing, given that Comedy Central has retained the rights to America’s most fearless purveyor of “truthiness.”
“Stephen Colbert” was on hand to break down President Trump’s first budget—one that critics have labeled a “hard-power budget” because it features a $54 billion increase in military spending, as well as the elimination of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which funds PBS. “Look, look, I know. But Trump’s a real-estate developer. It was only a matter of time before he put up condos on Sesame Street,” joked (the actual) Colbert.
“Donald Trump is also eliminating the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities,” he continued. “No, I’m not surprised—because he’s jealous of anyone who’s well-endowed.”
Trump’s budget also includes funding cuts to Meals on Wheels, a provably effective program that delivers meals to the homes of millions of elderly and infirm Americans who are unable to purchase or prepare their own food.
“This budget is so ruthless it’s cutting funding for Meals on Wheels. Really? Cutting Meals on Wheels? That isn’t just heartless, it’s bad marketing. You always stick with things that rhyme,” joked Colbert, before getting serious. “This program provides elderly shut-ins just minimal nutrition and a scrap of human dignity. What kind of heartless monster would be against that?”
“Did someone say fiscal conservative,” replied the host’s “conservative pundit colleague ‘Stephen Colbert.’”
Yes, “Stephen Colbert” then made a dramatic meta-entrance replete with smoke, a sword, and a Captain America shield.
“I’m here because America needs me—plus I wanted to stop you from making an ass out of yourself on network TV with your misguided analysis of Trump’s budget,” the Colbert character told the real Colbert.
“Stephen Colbert” then proceeded to give his take on Trump’s budget, which he said is “supposedly cruel to old people for no reason,” during the night’s “Werd” segment. The “conservative pundit” focused on Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney’s strange press conference, during which he attempted to defend POTUS’s budgetary vision.
“Now, Mulvaney had to cut Meals on Wheels because they ‘failed to meet their objectives,’” said Colbert, quoting the OMB director. “Yes, it’s called Meals on Wheels, but how often do you see a hamburger driving down the highway?... Now, folks, I know what you’re saying. You’re saying: They did meet their objectives, Stephen. They brought food to the elderly. Well, technically yes, Greg. But we all know what happens to food after we eat it: We are literally throwing money down the toilet.”
“Now, a lot of people say that Mulvaney is being cruel to old people. That’s not fair. He’s also being cruel to young people,” he continued. “Here’s the deal: This budget also cuts after-school lunch programs for poor kids—but again, for a very good reason.”
He then threw to a clip of Mulvaney addressing the cuts to after-school meals programs during the presser, where the OMB director stated that there’s “no demonstrable evidence they’re actually helping results—helping kids do better in school.”
“Yes—why feed children if they aren’t doing better in school? Take the food away and maybe they’ll be hungry for knowledge,” joked Colbert.
The comedian then appeared to break character, urging his viewers to go to House.gov and “find out how to call their congressman and tell them to protect kids and old people.”