“The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” is ready to help Americans understand the “double negative” Donald Trump used to explain the comments he made this week, in which he appeared to side with Russia over the U.S. intelligence community.
Trump met with Russian president Vladimir Putin on Monday in Helsinki for a personal summit between the two leaders. During a press conference after the meeting, Trump said Putin had denied that Russia interfered with the 2016 presidential election, and Trump believed him — despite the fact Trump’s own intelligence agencies agree Russia was behind hacking attacks and a social media propaganda campaign in Trump’s favor.
“My people came to me, they said they think it’s Russia,” Trump said. “I have President Putin. He just said it’s not Russia. I will say this. I don’t see any reason why it would be.”
The day after the meeting, after huge backlash from the U.S. news media and politicians on both sides of the aisle, Trump tried to walk the statement back. He told reporters he meant to say, “I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be (Russia),” not “I don’t see any reason why it would be.”
“It’s sort of a double negative,” Trump said.
“The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” brought out a grammar lesson for anyone who wasn’t clear on what a double negative is, creating a parody “Schoolhouse Rock!” song to explain the concept and sharing it on Twitter. The animated video is based on the real “Schoolhouse Rock!” song “Conjunction Junction,” and you can watch it above.
“Double negative junction, what’s your function?” The parody song’s lyrics ask. “A desperate way to not side with the Russians,” is the answer. “If you said something positive, that’s horribly negative, add another negative to make it positive!”
The singer then lays out a few quick examples of sentences using double negatives, all mocking Trump.
“Trump can’t never won’t tell the truth!” the song ends, taking a page from Trump and adding extra negatives to get its point across.