With just two weeks to go until election day, Donald Trump has embarked on a dangerously ambitious schedule of campaign rallies across the country, even as all but two states reported increases in coronavirus cases. In a rally on Friday, Trump called Joe Biden “the worst candidate in the history of presidential politics” and wondered aloud: “If I lose, what do I do?”
“You go to jail,” Jimmy Kimmel replied on Monday night. “You go directly to jail. Do not pass go. You do not collect your $200m.”
Trump’s campaign has continued with in-person, crowded events despite warnings from experts that the next six to 12 weeks could be the darkest of the pandemic so far. “Of course, as many states are bracing for the third peak of the virus, the president is busy attacking Dr Fauci,” Kimmel said, pointing to an internal campaign call this week in which Trump reportedly called the nation’s top infectious disease expert an “idiot” and a “disaster”.
“He’s definitely jealous of all the positive attention Dr Fauci gets,” Kimmel explained of Trump’s attempts to discredit him. “Which he wouldn’t even get, by the way, if Trump didn’t constantly contradict him.
“But I don’t know why Donald Trump still thinks he can ignore this virus and it will go away,” Kimmel added. “That strategy didn’t work with Don Jr and Eric and it isn’t gonna work here.”
On The Late Show, Stephen Colbert also checked in on Trump’s campaign trail antics, first and foremost his, um, mechanical dancing to YMCA by the Village People. “He makes the inflatable tube man look like Fred Astaire,” Colbert riffed on Trump’s moves. “I’ve seen more rhythmic movement from a potato rolling around on the back seat of my car. How do mess up dancing to YMCA? It comes with instructions!”
“I don’t want to beat a dead horse,” Colbert added, “but I’ve seen a dead horse with better moves.”
Trump also rolled out his latest line of attack on Biden: that the Democratic nominee would “listen to Dr Fauci”.
“Dr Fauci is the most trusted person on coronavirus in the United States,” Colbert retorted. “I don’t think that’s the attack you think it is!”
In an interview with CBS’s 60 Minutes on Sunday night, Fauci said he was not surprised that Trump caught coronavirus; he watched the Rose Garden ceremony for Amy Coney Barrett, a likely super-spreader event in which numerous high-ranking Republicans mingled without masks or social distancing, on TV with dread.
“So Fauci influences Trump’s Covid policy the same way we do – by staring in horror at the TV and saying, ‘That’s gonna be a problem,’” Colbert joked.
Probably in response to Fauci’s critical interview, Trump lambasted the nation’s top infectious disease expert, sidelined by the administration in recent months, during a campaign staff call and said “people are tired of hearing Fauci and these idiots, all these idiots who got it wrong.”
“Yeah remember the idiot who said it would go away in April?” Colbert said, mocking the President. “According to polls, people are really tired of that guy.”
And on Late Night, Seth Meyers replayed Trump’s campaign musings from the past week, in which he wondered aloud that if he lost, he’d have to leave the country.
“Oh, I don’t know you if you’ve heard, but we can’t go anywhere,” Meyers said. “And even if he did leave the country, I’m pretty sure he’d go somewhere that had the internet.”
Still, Meyers found one Trump claim – that if he lost, he’d never speak to his crowds again – tantalizing.
“I would give anything to not hear Trump’s voice any more. He’s everywhere – our phones, our TVs, he’s even my GPS voice now,” he joked.
More seriously, Trump’s campaign rallies have been linked to coronavirus outbreaks in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Minnesota, and despite the nation plunging into a third wave of the pandemic, Trump has escalated attacks on medical experts such as Dr Fauci.
“At this point, it’s impossible to conclude anything other than the fact that Trump and his allies are actively trying to get people sick,” Meyers said. “What more could he be doing at this point? Letting people crowd surf at his rallies? Check. And then chucking hats you touched into the crowd right before testing positive for Covid? Check. Soon he’s going to travel with a mascot named Covid Larry who’ll hand out kisses to whoever cheers the loudest.