Jon Stewart on Sunday said it is a “mistake” to focus solely on former President TrumpDonald TrumpFormer defense secretary Esper sues Pentagon in memoir dispute Biden celebrates start of Hanukkah Fauci says lies, threats are 'noise' MORE and the "big lie" when discussing American politics, contending that systems and dynamics have been in place for some time that allowed the sweeping 2020 election denial to infiltrate the country following the presidential campaign.
Stewart, when asked about the "big lie" during an interview with host Jake TapperJacob (Jake) Paul TapperOmar calls out Boebert over anti-Muslim remarks, denies Capitol incident took place Republican Rep. Upton unsure if he'll run again Bass calls 'Black pastors' comment during Arbery trial 'despicable' MORE on CNN’s “State of the Union,” said Trump has been “an effective vessel," but is not the sole source of the sentiment.
“I think we make a mistake focusing this all on Donald Trump, as though he's, I don't know, Magneto, and some incredible supervillain that has changed the very nature and temperature of the United States,” Stewart said.
“Like, he's just been an effective vessel. But, again, like, he's not singing new songs. This is something — he's maybe singing them a little better than Goldwater,” he added, referring to failed 1964 presidential candidate Barry Goldwater (R), who is oftentimes credited with igniting the conservative wing for years to come.
Stewart, the former host of “The Daily Show” who is currently helming the new Apple TV+ series “The Problem With Jon Stewart,” said the American public should turn its focus to the idea that power does not cede itself.
“But I think it's a mistake to focus it all on this one individual, and not to focus it more on the idea that power is its own reward, whether it be in the financial industry or in government. Like, power doesn't cede itself,” Stewart said.
“So, I think our focus unhealthily on this one individual comes at the price of systems and dynamics that have been in place long before this cat ever learned how to surf those waves,” he added.
Stewart has not shied away from criticizing Trump in the past. In September, he said Trump’s “shamelessness” is what makes him so “dangerous.”
“You have to be shameless to do shameful things,” he added.
Last week, however, the late-night icon said Trump has “a very good chance” of returning to the White House in 2024.
He said that if the former president wages a third presidential bid, his campaign will “all be about Jan. 6 and ‘Stop the Steal.’ ”
“But what I think they really learned from this exercise was there are really specific pivot points within the American electoral system, and those pivot points are generally the administration of elections run by partisans, but not ideologues,” Stewart said.
Trump has not announced any plans for a 2024 campaign, but he has been publicly toying with the idea for some time.