I’ve got to admit, it was hard to stomach Last Week Tonight on the eve of America’s momentous election. We know things are dire, John Oliver! I’m not sure we need our collective blood pressure raised any higher right now. But as he is wont to do, the British comedian took to his HBO show on Sunday night and reminded us of all the nefarious energy swirling around Washington, D.C., first with a tight 20 minutes on Trump’s coronavirus failures and then another 19 on the sins of William Barr.
Oliver addressed the elephant in the room right out of the gate, noting he’d rather devote his airtime to issues like scented candle fraud than Trump’s blatherings. But since people are still catching and dying from the virus at an alarming rate, unfortunately he can’t ignore the pandemic as willfully as the president and his supporters.
The host noted that a surprising number of Trump voters are still giving him the benefit of the doubt, playing video clips of folks insisting that the pandemic was out of the president’s control. But Oliver obliterated that argument by detailing the numerous ways Trump could’ve curbed the country’s infection rate but failed to act — instead banning travel from China and even fostering environments where people were more likely to catch the virus. Check out Oliver’s detailed, furious takedown of Trump’s lack of leadership below:
Then Oliver turned his attention to Trump’s attorney general William Barr, who notably first served as A.G. under President George H.W. Bush starting in 1989. Last Week Tonight noted that recently, Barr has sown distrust in voting and publicly contradicted health officials on coronavirus facts. But Oliver focused primarily on Barr’s fixation with executive power — basically, his belief that Article Two of the U.S. Constitution enables the president to do whatever he wants, totally unchecked.
As the host framed it, that’s the truly troubling side of Barr’s quest for power. If Trump wins re-election on Tuesday, the attorney general may get a chance to try out his theories by emboldening the president to act like an authoritarian leader. Check out Oliver’s well-researched reasoning for this conclusion below:
Suffice to say, it seems like most Americans are eager to move past the 2020 election. Depending on the outcome, let’s hope Oliver is able to get back to joking about sillier scandals soon.