Colbert: ‘There’s no avoiding’ Trump, but ‘I don’t like saying his name’
Stephen Colbert says he avoids saying former President Trump’s name or showing his image on TV because it “merely empowers” the ex-commander in chief.
“I think it might be irresponsible to give him attention,” the CBS “Late Show” host said in an episode of the Spotify podcast “Jemele Hill is Unbothered” released Monday.
“We’re going to deal with the effects of his presidency. Even the recent rise of threats to the Asian American community,” Colbert told host Jemele Hill. “The tail of his presidency — that’s the stink in the room that’s going to take awhile to clear out, if we make the effort to do so, along with many other things.”
“So there’s no avoiding him as a subject,” Colbert, 56, continued, “He shouldn’t be [an] essential subject because I think that merely empowers him in some way. That’s why I don’t like saying his name, or showing his picture, if possible.”
Colbert was one of Trump’s fiercest late-night TV critics throughout his presidency, and has repeatedly expressed regret for interviewing the then-GOP presidential candidate on his show in 2015.
Trump, Colbert said, is an example of someone who’s “one way with their crowd, and then they come to your crowd and they play the reasonable man, which is really a form of cowardice … a conman manipulation.”
“I don’t really want people who are going to play any kind of game with my audience,” Colbert added. “I just want them to express the thing that they’re famous for. That’s it. If you’ve got the balls to say it someplace else, then say it here.”
“That’s essentially why he’s not worth talking to, because he’s essentially boring,” said Colbert. “Even if he was to cut loose, he wouldn’t say anything that surprised you, just upset you. And who wants to do that?”
Colbert also weighed in on politics during his wide-ranging sit-down with Hill. Asked if the Republican Party “is going to survive,” Colbert replied, “I don’t know that it will. Parties don’t last forever.”
“Who knows — the Democratic Party may not last. Nothing is guaranteed. The Democratic Party may go through its own fracturing. It’s a fragile coalition at all times and so that’s why in some ways it’s difficult for them to maintain power even though more people identify as Democrats,” he said.
“There are no Whigs; someday there may not be Republicans,” Colbert said.
“That doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be Republicans, but you just can’t sustain a party if you literally don’t have a platform,” the comedian, who fundraised for Joe Biden’s campaign during the 2020 White House race, said.
“There literally is no platform,” Colbert said, before mentioning the deadly Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol by pro-Trump crowds. “There literally is only one leader, and that man literally incited an insurrection.”