On Wednesday’s episode of “Late Night,” host Seth Meyers delivered another edition of “A Closer Look” from the attic in his house. This time, Meyers went in on Donald Trump from acting as though the coronavirus pandemic was some kind of unknown threat that came completely out of nowhere, despite the Trump administration fielding warnings about this exact scenario numerous times over the past three years.
“Seems like almost every day we get more and more evidence that the Trump administration knew well in advance of the very real threat of a pandemic, and that they both ignored it and lied to the American people about it,” Meyers said early in his monologue, after starting with the now-daily series of jokes about the tiny door in his attic. “Despite the fact that the president keeps saying stuff like this–“
“Late Night” then showed a series of montages in which Trump claimed the pandemic was impossible to have seen coming. For example: “Nobody knew there’d be a pandemic or an epidemic of this proportion.”
“It’s very telling about his psychological state that when he means ‘I’ he says ‘nobody,'” Meyers said as he slipped into his Trump impression. “‘Folks, nobody could have kept a casino open in Atlantic City. Nobody really blew it. Nobody sucks.’
“So nobody could see this coming. Yeah, Taiwan and South Korea and New Zealand and Singapore were all surprised. That’s why they have a combined total of 12,000 cases and we have a total of 400,000 cases. Although in fairness, New Zealand had a huge advantage because they could call in those eagles from the end of ‘Return of the King.'”
Meyers then dropped a solid minute of jokes about the well-worn rhetoric about how if those giant eagles could have carried Frodo and Sam out of Mount Doom then they probably could have carried them there in the first place. And then, for good measure, he added some jokes about how “Lord of the Rings” author JRR Tolkien named the town where the hobbits live “Hobbiton.” This is a comedy show, remember.
Eventually, however, we got back to the point.
“And yet despite Trump’s repeated claims that no one could have foreseen this, it turns out a lot of people foresaw this. Including people in the Trump administration,” Meyers quipped as he began to run down a lengthy list of times when Trump was specifically warned about the threat of a pandemic, citing news reports.
“Here’s just a quick list. First, Obama officials walk Trump aids through a global pandemic exercise in 2017. Then, in 2017 and 2018, threat assessment intelligence analysts even mentioned a close cousin of coronavirus by name saying it had pandemic potential. Then in 2018, the director for medical and biodefense preparedness at the National Security Council told a symposium that the threat of pandemic flu is our number one health security concern. Then top administration officials said last year that the threat of a pandemic kept them up at night. Then, White House economists warned in 2019 a pandemic could devastate America. Then, intelligence reports warned of coronavirus crisis as early as November. And then, US intelligence reports from January and February warned about a likely pandemic. Well, you know, the saying: 8 strikes and you’re out. Seriously, how many incredibly specific warnings do you need?”
As Meyers approached the end of the “A Closer Look” segment, he segued into Trump’s obsession with hydroxychloroquine, the anti-malaria drug that many conservatives have pushed as a cure for COVID-19.
“Trump is desperately hoping this will all just go away, and that’s why he’s pushing an unproven miracle cure,” Meyers said as he closed out the segment. “This morning he tweeted that once this deadly pandemic that cratered our economy is over, it ‘must be quickly forgotten.’ But it shouldn’t be forgotten. Our government, led by our sociopath president, ignored repeated warnings that a major public health and economic disaster was headed our way.”
You can watch all of the “A Closer Look” segment from Wednesday’s “Late Night with Seth Meyers” in the video embedded up at the top of this post.