Stephen Colbert on Trump tell-all: ‘Maybe we should’ve been a little more terrified’

“Remember how anxious you were in the final days of the previous presidency,” said Stephen Colbert on Tuesday night. “Well, it turns out, now that we’re through it, I think we could say in hindsight that maybe we should’ve been a little more terrified.”

The Late Show host pointed to a new Trump tell-all book by journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, which documented that two days after the 6 January insurrection, the joint chiefs of staff chairman, Gen Mark Milley, feared Trump would launch a nuclear war.

“That is a bombshell revelation – a bombshell about a bombshell that could bring about the revelation,” Colbert said.

According to Peril, Milley took “top secret” action to prevent Trump from potentially ordering a dangerous military strike. “What he did was he changed the nuclear codes to something the president would never be able to figure out: his children’s birthdays,” Colbert joked.

The book also reveals that even China was nervous about a potential attack, due to increased tensions over military exercises in the South China Sea and Trump’s belligerent rhetoric. “That’s how serious it was: China was afraid the former president was going to bomb his daughter’s purse factories,” Colbert quipped.

On the Daily Show, Trevor Noah recapped the explosive controversy around the rapper Nicki Minaj, after declined to attend the Met Gala due to its vaccination policy and tweeted her reasoning: “My cousin in Trinidad won’t get the vaccine cuz his friend got it & became impotent. His testicles became swollen. His friend was weeks away from getting married, now the girl called off the wedding. So just pray on it & make sure you’re comfortable with ur decision, not bullied.”

“If you’ve been on Twitter for the last 24 hours, or you for some reason have a Google alert for Trinidadian testicles, you probably saw this story,” Noah reported.

“I’m not sure that this marriage was ever going to work out,” he added. More seriously, “vaccines are already a contentious issue in America, right? Everyone is fighting about them. But when you’re a world-famous artist with 22 million followers on Twitter, everyone is going to be weighing in.”

Minaj drew praise from rightwing figures on Fox News, as well as condemnation from such liberal media figures as the MSNBC host Joy Reid. Minaj lashed back on Twitter, telling former View co-host Meghan McCain to “eat shit you”.

“Here’s the thing: I get why Nicki Minaj feels attacked just for saying that she wants to do her own research,” Noah said. “But at the same time, Nicki, let’s be real – in fact not just Nicki, everyone – can we all just stop saying, ‘I need to do my own research.’ Nobody who’s saying that is getting in a lab and doing tests. At best you’re reading other people’s research, and more likely, you’re probably reading a tweet, about a headline, about a blogpost, about someone else’s research.”

What people are actually saying with “do my own research”, Noah continued, is “just want to see enough information to convince you that your decision is correct.”

“The problem is that for a lot of Nicki Minaj’s followers, millions of followers, that tweet about swollen balls? That will be their research,” he added.

But the host called for caution in labeling Minaj an anti-vaxxer. “If you take Nicki at her word – or anyone who wants more information, for that matter – instead of crucifying them just to prove how righteous we are, let’s show them the research.”

And that research has been done – the three vaccines available in America “are overwhelmingly safe and effective”, he said, “and their side-effects don’t come close to the damage that Covid can do to you”.

And in Los Angeles, Jimmy Kimmel also touched on Peril, the new tell-all book on the final days of the Trump presidency. “You know how we used to joke how scary it was that Trump had the nuclear codes?” he said. “Well, apparently we weren’t alone.”

Milley “basically had to baby-proof the nuclear football”, he added of the nuclear codes revelation. “At this point, Trump is going to have to build a presidential library just to hold all the books that have been written about him.”

Kimmel also discussed the controversial Minaj tweet about her cousin’s friend’s alleged vaccine side-effects, which are not supported by any research. “Nicki’s cousin’s friend got the Covid vaccine, then his testicles swelled up,” Kimmel said. “That doesn’t mean his testicles swelled up because of the Covid vaccine. If you get the vaccine and then fall in a manhole, it doesn’t mean Moderna causes manhole accidents.

“But when two things happen close together we tend to see them as connected,” he added, “and for this friend of Nicki’s cousin, I hate to say it but if your testicles swell up that big, the question isn’t, ‘Did you get a vaccine recently?’ It’s ‘What have you been doing to your balls?’”

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