Seth Meyers: Trump presidency was ‘Epcot world showcase of corruption’

On Late Night, Seth Meyers discussed the arrest of another former Trump official. This time, it’s Tom Barrack, chairman of Trump’s 2017 inaugural committee, charged in federal court in Brooklyn this week with illegally lobbying for the United Arab Emirates, obstructing justice and making false statements to federal agents.

According to federal prosecutors, Barrack capitalized on his relationship with and access to Trump to “advance the policy goals of a foreign government without disclosing his] true allegiances”.

“So one of Trump’s closest confidants and advisers was secretly using his access and connection to Trump to lobby the campaign and the administration as the unregistered agent of a foreign government,” Meyers explained. “That means various Trump associates were either lobbying for or connected to Ukraine, Russia, Turkey, Qatar and the UAE, among others. That place was like the Epcot world showcase of corruption.

“This was supposed to be the America First campaign, the new working-class GOP,” he added. “Instead it was all a bunch of millionaire lobbyists, bankers, consultants and private equity titans working for foreign countries. His so-called America First campaign was a bigger scam than Subway tuna.”

Meyers pointed to one example of Barrack’s alleged conspiracy: in 2016, he emailed a draft of a Trump energy speech to Emirati officials, and added an edit about the “importance of working with our Gulf allies” at their behest. “So thanks to Barrack, the UAE basically hired Trump to do a Cameo for them – ‘UAE, it’s Donald Trump, and I hear you have a birthday coming up,’” Meyers joked.

“The Trump campaign and presidency was one big criminal enterprise,” he concluded, “a toxic cesspool of corruption and self-enrichment, and clearly there’s still so much more we need to find out.”

On the Late Show, Stephen Colbert lamented the rise of Covid cases across the country, as vaccination rates stall and the highly transmissible Delta variant spreads. “Think of it like a pie,” said Colbert of current US vaccination rates. “About half of the pie would be vaccinated, while the other half wouldn’t be able to taste the pie because they have Covid.”

The spread of the Delta variant is fueled by vaccine hesitancy, Colbert explained, “which is itself being fueled by a dangerous pathogen scientists are calling the Republican party”.

The uptick in cases is perhaps why even GOP leaders like Mitch McConnell are publicly urging people to get the vaccine. Speaking to reporters this week, the Senate minority leader encouraged Americans to “ignore all of these other voices that are giving demonstrably bad advice”.

“Wow, I gotta say, and I hope no one ever takes this out of context, I agree with Mitch McConnell,” said Colbert.

In other Washington news, disputes continue over the select committee convened by the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, to investigate the causes of the 6 January siege of the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob. Earlier this week, the minority leader and Trump stalwart, Kevin McCarthy, announced his five selections for the panel, “and there seems to be one common denominator to all of the minority leader’s choices: no minority choices,” Colbert joked about the all-white, all-male Republican panel. “It’s an ad for inferior bleach because those are a bunch of dull whites.”

McCarthy’s picks include the Ohio congressman Jim Jordan, who has previously disparaged the investigation. “Putting him on the commission is like if Silence of the Lambs ended with deputizing Buffalo Bill,” Colbert mused.

On Wednesday, Pelosi rejected Jordan and fellow Republican congressman Jim Banks on account of this comments in support of Trump, whom the committee is investigating; the two might “jeopardize the integrity of the investigation”, she said. “Of course! They’re two potential suspects,” Colbert added. “Nancy Pelosi can’t just look the other way – she’s not Jim Jordan in the showers at Ohio State.”

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