Stephen Colbert returned to TV for the first time since the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, and praised the student survivors for speaking out and demanding tighter gun control.
On Tuesday night’s episode of “The Late Show,” the host began his opening monologue on a somber note, reflecting on last week’s deadly shooting that left 17 dead.
“Like you, I was sickened and heartbroken, not only by the attack and the loss of innocent life but by what I feared would be the complete lack of action by our leaders,” Colbert said, before drawing specific attention to comments made by Senator Marco Rubio.
“But there is one group that does give me hope that we can do something to protect the children, and sadly, it’s the children,” he continued. “These students saw their leaders doing nothing and said ‘hold my root beer.'”
After showing statements made by the Marjory Stoneman Douglas students, Colbert agreed with their sentiments that, “The adults aren’t cutting it anymore.”
“I think we need to change the voting age,” he said. “Until we do something about guns, you can’t vote until you’re over 18.”
Since the tragedy, many students have called on politicians to make changes to gun control laws to prevent further mass shootings. A busload of students traveled to Tallahassee on Tuesday to beg lawmakers to reinstate the ban on assault weapons, but the policy was voted down. Meanwhile, a March For Our Lives demonstration is scheduled to take place in Washington, D.C. on March 24.
“I hope these kids don’t give up because this is their lives and their future,” Colbert said. “Somebody else may be in power, but this country belongs to them. And there is reason for hope.”
Watch the full monologue in the video above.