“Folks, I want you to brace yourselves, because here’s a sentence I don’t often say,” Stephen Colbert said at the start of his show Wednesday night. “Donald Trump did something good.”
The host of Global’s “The Late Show” was referring to the U.S. president granting a pardon to Alice Johnson, a 63-year-old grandmother in jail since 1996 on a life sentence over a first-time, non-violent drug offence.
Colbert’s praise for the president ended there, though. He said Trump may have “done the right thing for the wrong reasons,” pointing out that the normal process of presidential review before a pardon was not taken.
In fact, Trump pardoned Johnson only after taking a meeting with Kim Kardashian last week.
“So executive clemency is now just a reality TV show,” Colbert said.
Colbert also pointed out another pardon Trump granted recently that was advocated to him by Sylvester Stallone, as well as the president’s suggestion that he might pardon Martha Stewart.
After reports from CNN that Trump is preparing a list of approximately 30 more pardons, Colbert imagined what that list might look like, including “Iron” Mike Tyson, Charlie Sheen, Hannibal Lecter, and Osama bin Laden.
“Take that, Obama. Now you murdered an innocent man,” Colbert joked, imitating Trump.
Also in the news was Trump’s recent phone call with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over U.S./Canada trade relations, in which Trudeau was reportedly angered by the president citing the burning down of the White House during the War of 1812 as justification for tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum.
“Now, Trump was probably referring to the War of 1812, when, in actuality, British troops burned down the White House,” Colbert said. “Still, that is shockingly almost accurate.
“Since when does Donald Trump know anything about American history?” he continued. “I thought his timeline went: ‘Washington, Lincoln, “Home Alone 2”, Obama born in Kenya, Frederick Douglass, me.’“