“Donald Trump is clearly losing it,” Stephen Colbert said on his CBS show.
“The president is absolutely melting down,” opined ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel.
The hosts were all reacting to what Meyers called a “deeply off the rails” performance by Trump, whose frustrations with House Democrats, a whistleblower’s complaint and the media were on full display as he hosted Finnish President Sauli Niinistö at the White House on Wednesday. But while Trump tangled with reporters and lashed out at his enemies, sparking the trending hashtag “#TrumpMeltdown,” Niinistö’s alternating expressions of surprise and discomfort captivated social media users, who swiftly transformed the foreign leader into the latest meme.
“Has anyone checked in on the president of Finland?” author Molly Jong-Fast tweeted. “He looked kind of traumatized.”
Wednesday’s drama began unfolding when Trump turned an Oval Office sit-down with Niinistö into a “sour venting session,” The Washington Post’s Toluse Olorunnipa wrote. Trump again attacked House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), ripping the lawmaker as “dishonest” and slapping him with a new nickname: “Shifty Schiff.”
Trump, who went on to blast the media and other top Democrats, was “clearly in a bit of a bad mood,” Colbert said, showing a photo of the president yelling.
“He looks like an old cat when you bring a new cat home,” the host joked, making exaggerated hissing sounds.
On NBC, Meyers also mocked the picture of Trump.
“He looks like a rabid groundhog who just popped out of his hole and predicted six more weeks of word vomit,” he said, adding that the president resembled “a python jutting out of the Amazon river.”
“They should put him in a moat on the southern border,” Meyers quipped, referencing a Tuesday report from the New York Times that Trump had suggested using a water-filled trench complete with alligators and snakes to fortify a border wall. Trump denied the report, tweeting, “I may be tough on Border Security, but not that tough.”
“The look on the Finnish President’s face in the Oval Office says ‘what the hell is going on here?’” one person tweeted.
Some interpreted Niinistö’s furtive glances as a silent plea for help, while others likened him to one of the main characters on the sitcom “The Office.”
But as Kimmel pointed out on his late-night show, the Oval Office meeting wasn’t the only time Niinistö had a front-row seat to “our president throwing a televised tantrum.” A similarly contentious scene played out Wednesday afternoon in the East Room of the White House.
In one heated exchange, Trump sparred with Reuters reporter Jeff Mason, who had asked the president about his call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Accusations that Trump pressured Zelensky to investigate his political opponent, former vice president Joe Biden, are at the center of a whistleblower complaint that has prompted Democrats to launch an impeachment inquiry.
“Are you talking to me?” Trump asked Wednesday, before repeatedly telling Mason to ask Niinistö a question instead.
“Wow, Trump was really pissed off there,” Comedy Central host Trevor Noah said. “One minute he was the president. The next second, he turned into a spray-tanned Samuel L. Jackson.”
Noah continued, slipping into an impersonation of Jackson: "'Ask the president of Finland a question! I double dare you. … Ask him a question! Ask him a question!’ ”
On CBS, Colbert joked that Mason had “caught President Travis Bickle by surprise,” alluding to Robert DeNiro’s character in the 1976 film “Taxi Driver.”
“Are you talking to me? Are you talking to me?” Colbert said in his Trump voice. “Well, I’m the only one getting impeached, so you must be talking to me.”
While other comics tore into Trump, Kimmel offered some advice.
Democrats should stop using the word impeach, the host said, noting that it makes Trump “defensive.”
“They should say, ‘Listen Mr. President, you’ve done an amazing job. You’ve done such an amazing job we are sending you right to the hall of fame,’” Kimmel said. “'We’re going to retire your jersey. Go get your stuff. We’ll have a ceremony, maybe a parade.' Then, just lead him into a hall of some kind and lock him in it.”
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