Only Noah wasn’t convinced.
“We’re definitely all going to die,” he said. “Trump is great for jokes, but in times of crisis, Trump is the worst person to reassure the nation.”
The president has faced scrutiny over his administration’s response to the novel virus and what is being done to contain its spread within the United States. In recent days, the president’s public statements about coronavirus have largely been focused on accusing the media and Democrats of trying to use the virus to harm his reelection bid.
On Wednesday, as Trump continued to downplay risks while tapping Vice President Pence to lead the country’s containment effort, late-night hosts joined critics to slam the president for not doing more. Trump’s announcement about Pence came as health officials confirmed the first coronavirus case in the United States that has no known link to foreign travel or contact with someone known to be infected.
“A president is like a parent. They’re supposed to make people feel like they have things under control,” Noah said. “[Trump is] the kind of parent who would freak their kid out even more.”
Stephen Colbert was equally unimpressed with Trump’s efforts.
“Now concerns of a global pandemic are growing, but fear not, the president knows he has a solemn duty to protect himself,” Colbert said on his CBS show Wednesday night, referencing Trump’s worries about how coronavirus could affect his campaign.
“I look forward to that transcript being released,” the host joked, before impersonating Trump. “Hello, Ukraine? I need dirt on a ‘Hunter Coronavirus.’”
Colbert went on to mock Trump’s news conference in India this week, zeroing in on the president’s comment about how Americans have a “very good chance” of not dying from the fast-spreading virus.
“This is your captain speaking,” Colbert said, mimicking a pilot’s PA announcement. “We are beginning our final descent into Chicago’s O’Hare Airport. Put your tray tables up because we have a solid chance of landing this sucker. I say odds are 60-40 we walk away from this.”
Meanwhile, Noah attacked the president for appearing to care more about the effect of the virus on the country’s markets than its citizens, citing a Wednesday article from The Washington Post that reported on Trump’s private fury over the current state of the U.S. stock market, which has plunged more than 2,000 points this week because of coronavirus-fueled sell-offs.
“That’s Trump’s real nightmare, if his stock market gets sick,” Noah quipped. “He’d be like, ‘No, not my poor stock market, not Wall Street. I’ll nurse you back to health with my special chicken soup. It’s a KFC bucket poured with Diet Coke.’”
Late-night hosts also took aim at Trump’s decision to have Pence lead his administration’s response. The move was widely criticized on social media Wednesday as people pointed out that Indiana experienced its worst HIV outbreak in state history in 2015 while Pence was governor.
“Why is Mike Pence in charge?” Kimmel asked incredulously. “What is his plan to stop the virus? Abstinence?”
But Noah argued that he would “feel safer” with Pence taking the lead than Trump.
“Mike Pence has a lot of experience in this area,” Noah said. “He’s been quarantining himself from women his whole life.”