Though he has taken pains to avoid mentioning him by name, Stephen Colbert couldn’t ignore the latest revelation about Donald Trump on Wednesday evening, thanks to yet another book by a former staff member, first reported in the Guardian. The latest, The Chief’s Chief by former chief of staff Mark Meadows, recounts how the former president tested positive for Covid three days before his first debate with Joe Biden in September 2020.
Meadows, a self-described devout Christian who doesn’t swear, writes in his book that Trump’s response to the positive test “rhymed with, ‘Oh spit, you’ve gotta be trucking lidding me.’”
“Meadows, of course, happy to undermine democracy, but he won’t swear,” Colbert remarked, “which explains the title of his book: I’m a Ducking Piece of Zit With My Nose Up Rump’s Grasshole.”
Meadows claims that Trump subsequently tested negative and continued on as usual, while the chief of staff instructed everyone in the president’s immediate circle to treat him as if he were positive. “So no touching him, no getting close to him, avoid him unless absolutely necessary – a strategy the CDC calls ‘The Melania’,” Colbert quipped.
Trump was not tested before the debate because he arrived late, and according to Meadows, organizers relied on the honor system. “How could you rely on the honor system when you know he doesn’t have any?!” Colbert wondered. “That’s like meeting Vladimir Putin and relying on the shirt system.”
So why did Meadows let the debate go forward? According to him, Trump simply looked better by debate day – “his face, for the most part at least, had regained its usual light bronze hue.”
“Light bronze hue – maybe he’s healthier, maybe it’s Maybelline,” said Colbert. “It’s Maybelline.”
Jimmy Kimmel also mocked Fox News’s reliance on the honor system for Covid during the September 2020 debate. “You might as well rely on the Dewey decimal system,” he said. “Have you met Donald Trump? ‘You promise you’re negative, guy who ran a fake university?’ Of course Typhoid Harry wanted to debate anyway.”
Trump released a statement on Wednesday disputing Meadows’s story and calling it “fake news.”
The denial was “especially hilarious”, Kimmel continued, because Trump celebrated the book’s announcement in October with a different sentiment: “Mark Meadows, our great Chief of Staff during some very exciting White House years, has written a new book entitled the Chief’s Chief,” he wrote in an official statement along with several lines of promotion for the book as an “incredible Christmas gift”.
“Two months later, Mark Meadows is a jerk and it’s fake news,” Kimmel noted. “Do the math on the Covid: it means Trump had it at that little soiree that he threw for Judge Amy Coney Barrett, after which at least eight people who were there tested positive. I wonder who they got it from? I wonder whose tiny hand they all shook at that party?
“The only shocking thing about any of this is that anyone would be shocked by this,” he added. “Of course he didn’t tell the Gold Star families and the supreme court justice and Joe Biden that he was positive.”
And on the Daily Show, Trevor Noah reacted to the news of Trump’s positive test before participating in the 2020 debate anyway, “which, on the one hand, is incredibly irresponsible and dangerous,” he said. “But on the other hand, was very relatable.
“I mean, that’s why you get second opinions, right?” he continued. “One doctor tells you that you’re very ill and you don’t have much longer, but another doctor says, ‘looking good, my man, you should go to Miami!’ I mean, you’re going to go with that doctor.”
As for Trump attending a debate with Joe Biden, whose age made him particularly vulnerable to Covid: “I’m not saying that Trump was trying to assassinate Joe Biden, but he definitely wasn’t going out of his way to avoid it,” Noah said.