Stephen Colbert: Republicans 'looked at voter turnout and decided it's time to stop voter turnout'

Late-night hosts look at GOP efforts to restrict voting and allegations of sexual harassment against Andrew Cuomo

Stephen Colbert to Republicans: ‘There’s plenty of confidence in the election – you’re just confident you’re going to lose it.’
Stephen Colbert to Republicans: ‘There’s plenty of confidence in the election – you’re just confident you’re going to lose it.’ Photograph: YouTube
Stephen Colbert to Republicans: ‘There’s plenty of confidence in the election – you’re just confident you’re going to lose it.’ Photograph: YouTube

Last modified on Fri 5 Mar 2021 08.46 EST

Stephen Colbert

In the weeks since the attack on the Capitol on 6 January, many followers of the conspiracy movement QAnon have tried to shoehorn its “messages” into the belief will Donald Trump will still somehow be inaugurated for a second term. “Ultimately, Q supporters are just gonna have to face the fact that their guy lost in the highest voter turnout in US history,” said Stephen Colbert on Wednesday’s Late Show.

“Republicans have accepted it. They looked at voter turnout and decided it is time to stop voter turnout.”

Republicans in 43 states have introduced a “tidal wave” of anti-voting legislation, such as in Georgia, where House Republicans responded to the state’s Democratic flip by passing a bill to limit absentee and early voting.

The bill’s sponsor said it’s “designed to begin to bring back the confidence of our voters back into our election system”.

“OK, but the Republican governor, the Republican secretary of state, the Republican voting systems manager all said it was a fair election,” Colbert retorted. “So there’s plenty of confidence in the election, you’re just confident you’re gonna lose it, so you’re tilting the playing field. That’s like the NFL restricting Tom Brady to restore confidence in the Kansas City Chiefs.”

Samantha Bee

“The US still has a long way to go toward making a real recovery from the pandemic, but we’re entering a new phase,” said Samantha Bee on Full Frontal. “The fog is clearing and we can finally start scrutinizing the behavior of our leaders, including the ones we used to like,” she added, turning to the allegations of sexual harassment, bullying and unwanted advances that have imperiled the career of the New York governor, Andrew Cuomo, in recent weeks.

“Looks like Andrew Cuomo is the biggest dirtbag New Yorkers have elected since … pretty much every previous dirtbag we’ve elected,” Bee joked. “Guess we have a type!”

Bee called the allegations, in which female former staffers say Cuomo used his power to proposition them, “disturbing but not surprising”.

“Cuomo seems like the kind of guy who thinks it can’t be sexual harassment if he didn’t use the word ‘toots’,” she said.

“Back in 2020 we were so desperate for a leader who wouldn’t tell us to go bleach ourselves, we turned our governor into a hero,” Bee continued, pointing to media fawning over the governor’s competent coronavirus briefings, for which figures such as Ellen DeGeneres called themselves “Cuomosexuals”.

We know Cuomo is not a “hero”, Bee continued. “If we want to demand the best from our leaders, regardless of whether they’re Democrats or Republicans, we can’t treat them like we treat our food journals. We have to be honest about them, like we do in our dream journals.”

“Just because Governor Cuomo stepped into a leadership void during the pandemic,” she concluded, “doesn’t mean he gets a pass on his consistently shitty behavior.”

Trevor Noah

On The Daily Show, Trevor Noah tore into the near-complete rollback of coronavirus safety protocols and mask mandates in Texas and Mississippi, even as public health officials warn of a deadly fourth wave and the Biden administration pledged to have vaccines available for all American adults by the end of May. “Why are things reopening all of a sudden?! Corona’s not over yet!” Noah exclaimed.

“I mean, Texas is still getting over 7,000 new cases a day, but their governor got vaccinated and now he’s like, ‘get those clubs back open, imma get lit!’

“I can even understand wanting to open businesses back up because of the economy,” Noah said, referring to Governor Greg Abbott’s decision to allow Texas businesses to reopen to 100% capacity. “But people, lifting mask mandates? That makes no sense at all, no sense. Like, I’m sick of corona too, but this is not the time to ease up on masking.

“We’re so close to the end of the pandemic, we can see it! Why are these governors letting their guard down?” he concluded. “I bet these are the same people who read Tortoise and the Hare and they’re like, ‘What a great story about a rabbit who took a refreshing nap.’”

Seth Meyers

And on Late Night, Seth Meyers also ripped premature removals of coronavirus safety measures in several states with the end of the pandemic on the horizon. “We’re so close, we can’t screw it up now!” he said.

“Come July 4th, you could be knocking back a cold one in your neighbor’s yard while he flips burgers and drones on about how much better it is to cook with charcoal. You’ll be seeing so much of your neighbors you’ll start praying for the next pandemic.

“We can get there. It’s possible, we just have to spend then next few months not screwing up. Which of course means some governors immediately started racing to screw it up,” he added, pointing to Texas and Mississippi’s reopening, and the fact that the US is still recording 1,500 deaths from the virus a day.

To great consternation from health officials, Abbott rescinded the state’s mask mandate, which prompted one public health expert to say the governor “lost his mind”, on MSNBC. “In fairness, maybe he didn’t lose it,” said Meyers. “Maybe it just froze during the massive power failure that happened on his watch.”