Seth Meyers: 'The Trump White House has given up' on the pandemic

Adrian Horton
·5-min read

Seth Meyers

The US has plunged into a full third wave of the coronavirus pandemic, as case numbers have set new daily records and hospitalizations have spiked in states across the midwest and south. By now, “this much is clear: the Trump White House has given up while hundreds of thousands of Americans needlessly die from a virus that can be contained,” said Seth Meyers on Late Night. “The president and his aides are waving the white flag and telling you to fend for yourselves.”

During rallies held as case numbers surged, Trump lamented how testing increased infection rates and decried media coverage of the ongoing pandemic, because “no matter what’s going on in the world”, Meyers deadpanned, “Trump will only be happy if every time you turn on the evening news, the top story is ‘handsome president wows nation with dance moves!’” (About those dance moves, showcased as Trump danced to the Village People’s YMCA at a campaign event – “if anything, he looks like a serial killer trying to wriggle out of a straitjacket,” Meyers joked.)

At this point Meyers continued, the White House has basically admitted that it’s given up on containing the virus; chief of staff Mark Meadows told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday that “we’re not going to control the pandemic” because it’s “a contagious virus”.

Related: Colbert on the final Trump v Biden debate: 'like dental surgery'

Meadows’s defeatist comments “may be a rhetorical change, but it’s not really much of a change in policy”, said Meyers, “since the Trump White House has from the beginning decided to forfeit and let the virus run rampant across the country”.

Dr Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, told reporters last week that he hadn’t spoken to Trump in “some time” and that Trump had stopped attending coronavirus briefings. In other words, said Meyers, “Trump and his aides are surrendering to the virus and telling Americans: you’re on your own.”

Trevor Noah

“This whole year, everyone has been waiting for an October surprise,” said Trevor Noah on the Daily Show, “and it turns out the October surprise is that we’re still talking about the same shit we were talking about in March” – rising coronavirus case numbers, hospitals facing max capacity. And while Joe Biden announced that he would advocate for a nationwide mask mandate, deploy the Defense Production Act to drive the production of personal protective equipment, and begin testing 7 million people each day, Trump this weekend “revealed his take on the pandemic: ‘boring!’”.

“That’s all I hear about now,” Trump lamented in a rally over the weekend. “I can safely say that I’ve never seen a world leader get bored of a crisis,” Noah responded. “Also, it’s weird that Donald Trump is still saying this when he’s the one who’s still talking shit from 2015.

“Seriously, how does this president still not get it?” Noah wondered. “People are still talking about Covid because people are still dying from Covid. Imagine if the captain of the Titanic had this attitude – ‘All everyone is talking about is drowning, drowning, drowning.’”

Noah also replayed Meadows’s comments to CNN on Sunday that the US is simply “not going to control the pandemic” because the coronavirus is merely a “contagious virus” like the flu. “So the plan is to let coronavirus spread freely throughout America?” Noah wondered.

“It’s interesting how zen Trump’s people are about this, because with an immigrant child who came over the border they’re like, ‘Zero tolerance, one is too many, we have to deport!’” he added. “But with a virus that’s killing hundreds of thousands of Americans, they’re like, ‘look, man, the virus is just trying to make a better life in our lungs – who are we to stop it?’”

Stephen Colbert

Covid rates set record highs in 38 states in the past week, but “of course, the most infectious part of the country is the Trump administration,” said Stephen Colbert on the Late Show. Last month, a White House outbreak sent Trump to Walter Reed medical center, and infected his wife Melania, and several staff members. This week, the virus has spread to the vice-president’s office: five of Mike Pence’s top aides, including his body man and chief of staff, have tested positive.

Pence has not tested positive but, despite a CDC recommendation to isolate for two weeks if probably exposed to the virus, the vice-president has said he will keep campaigning anyway because the White House has classified him as an “essential worker”.

“What are you talking about?” Colbert sputtered. “He’s vice-president! At best he is vice-essential. He is America’s spare tire – you want him in the trunk but you hope to never have to use him.”

Meanwhile, between Friday and Monday, Trump held 11 campaign events, including nine rallies in seven states, and “spent the weekend blaming the pandemic on the media”, Colbert reported. Or, to quote Trump: “Covid, Covid, Covid — by the way, on November 4, you won’t hear about it any more.”

“Well, I won’t hear anything on November 4, because either way, I’ll be hungover,” Colbert retorted. “But I can say this much: I won’t have an audience, I’ll still be stuck in this room.”