The Daily Showdown
August 15, 2019

Trevor Noah has a theory about President Trump and his wife, first lady Melania Trump, and he laid it out on Wednesday's Daily Show. "While her husband has struggled to get his approval rating over 40 percent, Melania has consistently remained the country's most popular Trump," he said. "And personally, I love her, too. Because we have so much in common: We're both immigrants, neither of us would be here if it weren't for Donald Trump, and — I'm just going to put it out there — we're both style icons."

But "in the wake of Trump's recent immigration crackdown, I've started to notice something that's got me really concerned: I think Donald Trump is trying to deport Melania," Noah said. Why would he do that? "I don't know, but things haven't exactly been perfect between them," he said, laying out his evidence. "And I know it sounds crazy — Donald Trump wants to deport his wife? But if you look at all of Trump's immigration policies, a lot of people think that he just hates immigrants, but when you put them all together, you start to notice a pattern: All of his policies seem to be aimed at his wife!"

Noah laid out a compelling case that Trump's signature policies would have hammered his wife, and if you're not convinced he wants to deport Melania, "how do you explain the new policy his administration announced this week, huh?" he asked. "That immigrants who receive assistance from the government may not be allowed to stay in the United States. Well, guess who lives in a free house provided by the United States? Melania [censored] Trump!"

"I see what you're doing, Donald, I see what you're doing and I'm not going to let it happen!" Noah said, promoting the hashtag #dontdeportmelania. "Because if this great immigrant is forced to leave this country, then the United States can never be best." Watch below. Peter Weber

August 14, 2019

Even President Trump has acknowledged the rising threat of white supremacy, but "there is one person who still isn't convinced: Fox New anchor and concerned face drawn on a balloon Tucker Carlson," Trevor Noah said on Tuesday's Daily Show. He didn't find Carlson's "hoax" argument persuasive: "White supremacists aren't a threat because they can only fill a college football stadium? My man, those stadiums hold 100,000 people."

"Tucker Carlson only gives white terrorists this pass," Noah noted. "After 9/11, he wasn't like: 'Al Qaeda? Please! What was it, like 19 people? ... Call me when they can sell out a Knicks game.'" He showed some other "threats" Carlson has touted on his show, like feminist scientists and the metric system. But "soft-pedaling white supremacy" apparently cost Carlson three big advertisers, Noah said, "and something tells me his bosses at Fox News didn't like what he said, because the very next day," he announced a surprise fishing vacation.

Maybe the timing was just a coincidence, "but it does seem to happen a lot over at Fox," Noah said. "Almost everyone on Fox has had to go on a surprise vacation after saying something controversial, but there's one vacation on Fox that is the greatest of all time." He assumed a mafioso voice to discuss Bill O'Reilly's never-ending holiday: "Yeah, let's just say O'Reilly's gonna be goin' on a permanent vacation. I'm Chris Cuomo, thanks for watching CNN."

CNN hasn't sent Cuomo on vacation after he threatened a guy who called him "Fredo," Noah said, showing video of the incident. "Cuomo was clearly pissed off because he feels like when this guy called him 'Fredo,' it's a negative Italian stereotype. What's funny to me, though, was that his reaction that he chose also seemed like a negative Italian stereotype." Some people are saying "Fredo" is "a reference to the dumb brother in The Godfather," Noah said, "but some are also saying it's an ethnic slur. In fact, Cuomo himself claimed it's like calling an Italian person 'the N-word.' So to find out if that's true, we're joined by Roy Wood Jr." It was a very short bit. Watch below. Peter Weber

August 9, 2019

"Historically, rich people have hosted fundraisers in America for political candidates ... and it didn't garner much attention, but in the age of Trump, all of that has changed — as one billionaire just found out," Trevor Noah said on Thursday's Daily Show. That billionaire, Stephen Ross, is hosting one of two high-dollar fundraisers for President Trump in the Hamptons on Friday, collectively expected to raise $10 million for Trump's campaign and the Republican National Committee. Ross owns the parent company of SoulCycle and Equinox, and the generally liberal clientele of those two luxury fitness brands is generally not happy.

"There are growing calls for people to boycott Equinox and Soul Cycle — and to all those people canceling their memberships I say: good luck," Noah said. "Have you ever tried to get out of a gym membership? It is impossible." Ross "released a statement defending himself, but I'll be honest, I think it only made things worse," he added. "Basically, what he's saying is that he supports the business side of Donald Trump but he doesn't support the racism side of Donald Trump. But you realize if you actually listen, you analyze what he's saying, what he's actually saying without realizing it is that he can afford to support Trump's business side because Trump's racism side doesn't affect him."

Liberal Equinox and SoulCycle patrons "are torn, but many people say if this happens, they're out," Noah said. "And you know what? I'm joining them. In fact, I haven't gone to the gym in the last three months, in preparation for this moment." This imbroglio doesn't answer "the unending question: Should you support a business if some people in that business back a politician you don't like?" he added. But for those fleeing the brands, Jaboukie Young-White had some more "woke" alternatives. Watch below. Peter Weber

June 12, 2019

Last week, a Russian destroyer nearly rammed into a U.S. warship on the high seas. Where would Russia get the nerve "to play chicken against America in the Pacific?" Trevor Noah asked on Tuesday's Daily Show. "Well, maybe it's because they have a new and powerful BFF." While President Trump was meeting with allies in Europe, Russian President Vladimir Putin was hosting Chinese President Xi Jinping, and they got really friendly.

"That's right, Xi and Putin have gotten so close they're even taking boat rides together," Noah said. "And not just a normal boat ride — Putin even helped Xi re-create that scene from Titanic. It was like, 'Yeah, I'm king of the woooorld! No, really, China's taking over the woooorld!'" And Xi, significantly, gave Putin two pandas. "The point is, China and Russia are getting super close, and the consequences for America go beyond boat rides and cute bears," Noah said. China and Russia are "teaming up against the United States. I mean, America could probably handle China or Russia, but not both at the same time. Imagine if in Rocky IV, Ivan Drago was fighting and then Jackie Chan jumped in the ring to help. That would be the end of Rocky."

"Beyond geopolitics, the personal element of this bromance is probably something that's gonna bug Donald Trump," Noah said. "Because don't forget, he wants to be a part of this club — he loves those dudes. ... So to see his two besties make plans without him, that's gotta hurt. And I don't think he's dealing with his feelings in the most mature way." The clip he showed did look pretty bad, in context. "Wow, really Trump? He's going to put tariffs on China if Xi doesn't hang out with him? That is so childish," Noah said. "Xi Jinping won't have a play date? Tariffs!" He ended with some dubious relationship advice for Trump. Watch below. Peter Weber

June 7, 2019

You may think of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) "as part of the coastal elites," Trevor Noah said on Thursday's Daily Show, "but you may be surprised to find out she came from very humble roots" in Oklahoma. In fact, there's a lot you may not know about Warren, like that she taught special-needs kids before becoming a law professor, and she proposed to her husband back in the 1970s.

"And Elizabeth Warren wasn't just asking guys with great legs to marry her," Noah said. "While she taught at Harvard, she became one of the country's top experts on bankruptcy — and not in the Donald Trump kind of way. No, she knew the law so well that she would often be called to testify in front of Congress. And one of those hearings, from nearly 15 years ago, is pretty wild to watch now." This one pitted her against Joe Biden.

"That's one of the reasons people like Elizabeth Warren so much, because she's been fighting against the predatory practices of banks and credit card companies, and this was long before it was cool," Noah said. Warren was such a force on the issue that when her idea for a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau became reality, President Barack Obama wanted her to lead it — and Senate Republicans blocked her. So she ran for Senate, won, and "her popularity just kept on rising," Noah said.

"Now she's making waves in the 2020 race, and incredibly, she's managed to stand out in this crowded field thanks to her unique strategy of having a plan," Noah said, or rather, lots of plans. "So that's Elizabeth Warren: Third place in the race, lots of detailed ideas, and a long history to back them up. And look, we still have a long way to go until the primaries, but for right now it seems like, much like her husband, this campaign has legs." Watch below. Peter Weber

June 5, 2019

"It's safe to say that socialism is having a moment in American politics right now," Trevor Noah said on Tuesday's Daily Show. "And that's freaking a lot of people out." To figure out why, The Daily Show sent senior youth correspondent Jaboukie Young-White out into Manhattan and Washington, D.C., to first ask millennials about their thoughts on socialism and then chat with some people who have stronger opinions on the topic.

"Seriously, you can't talk socialism in America without going to the OG, Sen. Bernie Sanders," Young-White said, after cracking a joke about Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. He asked Sanders to define socialism and explain its appeal to the youths. "Could he be the oldest millennial in America?" he asked. Sanders said young people see the appeal in egalitarianism, thanks to the economic headwinds they are facing as a generation, and he held up Denmark and Sweden as examples to emulate.

Young-White then interviewed socialism critic Karol Markowitz, a columnist for the New York Post. She cited Soviet gulags. He went back to Sanders, who responded that the Soviet Union "was an authoritarian society with no democratic rights," and "democratic socialists stood up and fought against that." He isn't trying to imitate the Soviets or Venezuela, he added, but he did make a gulag joke.

"Fact check: The examples of failed socialism that critics use are not socialist democracies but authoritarian states led by corrupt, ruthless, and paranoid dictators," Young-White said. "But I do have one real problem with socialism: I like money." So he asked Sanders, "Is socialism still for me if I'm a millennial millionaire?" You can watch the response below. Peter Weber

May 30, 2019

Back in 2016, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell "blocked President Obama from appointing Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court, because 'a president shouldn't get to fill a Supreme Court seat in an election year,'" Trevor Noah reminded viewers on Wednesday's Daily Show. "But now that Donald Trump is president, McConnell says 'Playas gotta play,'" he paraphrased, showing the video of McConnell changing his tune at a luncheon in Kentucky on Tuesday.

"Say what you want about Mitch McConnell, but he is truly the perfect movie villain," Noah said. "And not just because he looks like Jabba the Hut got a gastric bypass. No, it's because look at how he did it: He took a sip of his drink and then he just revealed his evil plan, then he gave a creepy-ass smile. Classic movie villain. I'm surprised he didn't end the press conference by turning into a cloud of bats." McConnell, it should be noted, is embracing his dark side and reveling in his growing reputation for villainy.

Still, the analogy isn't perfect, Noah conceded. "When a villain does this in a movie, we're always like: 'You idiot — why would you reveal your plan? Now the good guys can stop you!' But in real life we're like: 'Aha! Now we can stop him — we just need 50 votes in the Senate to ... wait, who's got the votes?' ... And the worst part is, Mitch McConnell lives so deep in Senate procedure that it's not easy to explain to people why his plan is so evil." Watch him briefly try to explain before moving on to abortion, Netflix, The Bachelorette, and the Midwest's stormy weather. Peter Weber

May 30, 2019

"Since the Mueller report was released six weeks ago, everyone has shared their opinion on what they think it means," Trevor Noah said on Wednesday's Daily Show. "According to President Trump, it's 'total exoneration,'" and many Democrats see it as "the road to impeachment." But we heard nothing from Robert Mueller himself — until Wednesday. Then, after an hour of wild cable news speculation, Mueller spoke, live, on television, for about 10 minutes.

Mueller's warning about Russian election interference was clear enough. "He says every American needs to pay attention to Russian meddling, but he's really talking to one particular American," Noah said. "Let's face it, Trump is the only one that matters. I don't think Mueller is going on TV because he's worried Phil from Quiznos isn't taking America's elections seriously enough."

Still, "no one tuned in to hear Mueller talk about the Russians," Noah said. "People tuned in to hear if Robert Mueller thinks that the president obstructed justice or not," and that's where Mueller got cryptic. "Wait, what? 'If Trump didn't commit a crime, we would have said so'?" he repeated. "So Trump did commit a crime? Or did he just not not commit a crime? Like, Robert Mueller, why don't you just speak English? Even Yoda would be like, 'Mmm, report confusing you make.'"

"Look, the way Mueller phrased this information was confusing, but most people agree that the underlying message was clear," Noah said, comparing it to an evasive answer about herpes. "For now, Robert Mueller refuses to come out and just say that the president has obstruction herpes," and "even though Mueller dropped a major hint, many people weren't satisfied with how little he said today. But I'll be honest: I don't think anyone's going to shake this guy. And I know this, because I sent our correspondents to the press conference to try and find out more." Watch that montage below. Peter Weber

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