Late night hosts Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers both took time out in their shows to address the Charlottesville tragedy and our presidents galling lack of leadership. Both spoke softly and respectfully, denouncing the perpetrators of hate, and both called out Trump’s part in what happened. One speech went over REALLY well, with hundreds of thousands of shares on social media. The other was mercilessly mocked. Let’s watch them both and see if you can guess which is which.
Fallon emotionally spoke of his daughters playing in the next room while he watched the riots unfold.
“How can I explain to them that there’s so much hatred in this world?” he asked. “They’re 2 years old and 4 years old. They don’t know what hate is… They need us to look up to.”
And then he made it clear that Trump doesn’t cut it.
“The fact that it took the president two days to come out and clearly denounce racists and white supremacists is shameful,” Fallon said. “And I think he finally spoke out because people everywhere stood up and said something.”
Fallon than called on everyone ― “especially white people” ― to speak against hate.
“We all need to stand against what is wrong, acknowledge that racism exists, and stand up for what is right and civil and kind, and to to show the next generation that we haven’t forgotten how hard people have fought for human rights.”
”We can’t go backward,” he said. “We can’t go backward.”
Seth’s blistering takedown of Trump was both more pointed and more blunt:
We’re so happy to have you here and we want to get started. We want to have a fun show. But we also wanted to take a moment to address what happened this weekend.
On Saturday there was yet another terror attack on American soil. This one was allegedly perpetrated by a white supremacist named James Field against a group of protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia. He drove his car into a crowd and killed a woman named Heather Heyer. It was a horrifying incident that left most of the country stunned and terrified.
But on Saturday, you didn’t hear her name or the terrorist’s name or even the word “terrorist” from our president. What you heard instead was this:
(Trump: “We’re closely following the terrible events unfolding in Charlottesville, Virginia. We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides. On many sides.”)
On many sides. If that choice of words made you feel sick to your stomach, the good news is you’re a normal and decent person. The jury is still out on the president, as he initially refused to condemn the white supremacist movement in this country.
Now, he did read a statement at the White House today that finally struck the right tone, but I’m sorry, pencils down on this subject was Saturday evening. He only gets very partial credit.
Some ignored it or played it down when Donald Trump claimed our first black president wasn’t born in this country. It was racist and insane, but he was written off as a clown, a bitter little man who didn’t know an American could have a name like Barack Obama. Then he called Mexicans “rapists” during the speech announcing his candidacy. He called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas.” Then he brought Steve Bannon into the White House with him; worked to take away voting rights from black people; and hammered away at the idea that Chicago was a wasteland because of the violent black people living there. And now, white supremacists and American Nazis are visible and energetic and demonstrative in a way we have not seen in our lifetimes.
Donald Trump did not immediately denounce the white supremacist movement when given the chance. And now, whether he knows it or not, many of those people see him as leading that movement. The leader of our country is called the president because he’s supposed to preside over our society. His job is to lead, to cajole, to scold, to correct our path, to lift up what is good about us and to absolutely and unequivocally and immediately condemn what is evil in us. And if he does not do that, if he does not preside over our society, then he is not a president.
You can stand for a nation or you can stand for a hateful movement. You can’t do both. And if you don’t make the right choice, I am confident that the American voter will.
If you haven’t guessed by now, Fallon – the hair-ruffling scamp – was the one that got razzed on Twitter.
Wish Jimmy Fallon had this much integrity back when Trump called entire ethnicities rapist and murderers, instead of playing with his hair.
— Amir (@AmirAminiMD) August 15, 2017
I honestly don’t give a fuck what Jimmy Fallon has to simper about today. He’s been dead to me since he tousled that racist shit’s “hair.”
— Mary Beth Williams (@embeedub) August 15, 2017
Hey Jimmy Fallon, the guy u denounced last night had already said mexicans were rapists when you played with his hair
— Oliver Willis (@owillis) August 15, 2017
Stick your heartfelt Charlottesville monologue up your fucking ass pic.twitter.com/zV1PuPxq2G
— “TBONE” O’Sullivan (@Bro_Pair) August 15, 2017
And on and on into the night.
(Featured image via YouTube)